Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) - A Welsh Documentary Heritage Website
Identified by The National Library of Wales as an 'Important part of Wales' documentary heritage' Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) - A Welsh Documentary Heritage Website
Identified by The National Library of Wales as an 'Important part of Wales' documentary heritage'
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Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)

The Official Kenfig Community History Project
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This website project documents the entire history of Kenfig & surrounding areas from prehistory to the present day. This website is permanent & is continually being updated.


War Years



The Cornelly Chronicles

Kenfig Times - Echos from the Past

Charity Events

Famous Visitors

Pictorial History

The Kenfig Community

Neighbouring villages & towns around Kenfig

Pubs, Inns & Alehouses

Sports & Pastimes

2012 Olympic Games

Local Genealogy

Interactive Burial Plots & Alphabetical Listing

Heritage Exhibition 2012


The Coast


Kenfig Hill - Emergency Services/Public Administration

The Great Fire of Kenfig Hill (July 1913)

Shop Fires at Bowen's Cross

Press Story of the day

On Friday evening Kenfig Hill was the scene of a tremendous conflagration which resulted in the destruction of 4 commodious business premises situated on Bowen's Cross. The fire originated in the premises of Mr Ivor Parker (the draper) as a result of the falling of a large Blanchard lamp that had been hung in the shop window. The fire quickly spread through the shop within minutes the whole building was ablaze. Before it could be contained the fire had engulfed & destroyed the establishments of Mr Herbert Jones (chemist), Mr Fred Love (tobacconist & hairdresser) & Mr Evans (boot & shoe shop).

The fire was prevented from spreading to adjacent houses but the heat was so intense it cracked & broke the windows of the Post Office on opposite side of road.

The Bridgend Fire Brigade arrived within half hour of the alarm being raised - this was very good for a horse-drawn fire tender. When it arrived at Bowen's Cross there wasn't any water available to fight the blaze. The nearest fire hydrant was in Waunbant Road which had been metalled over. The final assessment of damage was £8000 (this being the 3rd severe fire that had occurred in Kenfig Hill during the previous 12 months) - On 31 October 1913 the Penybont Rural District Council resolved to fix 16 fire hydrants in the Kenfig Hill district.

Shops Before the Great Fire

Shops After the Great Fire

website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: National Library of Wales, 'Welsh Newspapers Online' (; Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services;


Tide Timetable - Porthcawl 2016

JUNE 2016

Latest Updates:

Jan (full month); Feb (full month); March (full month); April (full month), May (full month), June (full month),












KENFIG HERITAGE - War Years - The First World War around Kenfig (1914-18)

Egbert the Tank in Dunraven Place, Bridgend - June 1918

Promoting the Drive to purchase War Bonds

First World War Tank visits South Wales

Look Out for the Tank "Egbert"

At Bridgend on Tuesday and Wednesday - Rally round and Help to Smash the Huns

Tuesday and Wednesday in next week will be days long held in remembrance in the history of Bridgend, not only as the occasion of a magnificient patriotic demonstration, but as days, keenly looked forward to when the people accquitted themselves nobly and in the history of the great war made for themselves a name of which posterity will be for ever proud.

Everything now and for the future depends upon the spontaniety and the magnitude of our effort. We refused to have a dummy tank - a mere camouflaged affair. We are having the real thing. Let us see to it that there is no camouflage about our reception, or in our "shelling out" to shell out the Beches.

The Tank coming to Bridgend on Tuesday and Wednesday next week is the famous Juggernaut that broke the line at Cambrai - The Tank Egbert with indentations on its armoured plates that tell their own tale of deadly combat with the Huns and speak to us of the flesh and blood fighting in France and Flanders which is one more value than much money.

Other towns we know have done well. Let them be to us an inspiration not to flag, but to put so much money into the Tank that Egbert in its fight for finance in Bridgend may beat the record. For the information of our readers, it must be recorded that "Egbert" will be stationed outside the Town Hall for the purpose of registering the names of the patriots living in Bridgend and district and the amounts of war loan taken up.

It is possible to invest any sum from 15/6 upwards.

"Egbert" is due to arrive at the Great Western Railway Station at 10.30am on Tuesday and will be met by the chairman (Mr J.T. Hitt, J.P.) and members of the Urban District Council and representaives of the Friendly Societies, the Fire Brigade, Police, Girl Guides, Boy Scouts and the local O.T.C. The V.T.C. will form the guard of honour.

A procession will be formed and with a musical band, "Egbert" will be conducted in state to the Town Hall Square. After the singing of the National Anthem, the opening ceremony will be performed by Mrs Llewellyn (Court Colman) and speeches will be delivered by Mr John M. Randall, Lieut.-Col. J.I.D. Nicholl, Col. Tubervill, Mr Noah Morgan (chairman of the Glamorgan Farmers' Union) and others.

Thanks to the liberality of a number of residents including Mr Fred Jacob and Messrs Bevan and Lloyd, each of whom contributed £10 as the nucleus of a fund of £50, one lucky investor each day, on opening his envelope, will find War Bonds to the value of £25. Thus, on Tuesday and again on Wednesday, one investor is bound to receive a £25 prize.

Also a prize of £5 is offered for the best decorated residence or business premises and the School that subscribes the highest amount per head will receive books to the value of £5.

To avoid confusion or delay, it may be stated that the War Savings Certificates cost 15/6 each and area free of income-tax. At the expiration of five years the Government will pay £1 for 15/6 invested, which represents £5 per centum compound interest. These certificates will be obtained at the Town Hall.

An investor will fill up a form of application for the number of certificates required. Money or Treasury Notes will be handed over to the officials in attendance at the Town Hall, who will issue the appropriate number of certificates to the purchaser. These wil then be taken to the Tank to be registered and the transaction completed.

Five per cent National War Bonds can be purchased for £5 each and multiple of £5. These are issued in three classes:
(a) Repayable on 1st April, 1923 at £102 per centum.
(b) Repayable on 1st April, 1925 at £103 per centum.
(c) Repayable on 1st April, 1928 at £105 per cantum.
Applications for these Bonds may be obtained, filled up and signed at the Tank or at any bank in the town. Bonds, when purchased, will be issued, registered and stamped at the Tank.

Cheques for £5 and upwards will be taken at the Tank. Receipts for all Bonds taken up at every Bank will be stamped at the Tank. All Bonds which are taken up at any Bank in the town on Tuesday or Wednesday next will be reported to and credited in the total sum invested at the Tank. These Certificates and Bonds are the safest and best investment in the world.

Every £1 so invested will be repaid by the Government on the date it falls due for repayment. So everything is now plain and finally, it only remains to make a grand united effort and with one accord to "bank" with a view to bringing back the boys and speeding the peace that only victory can bring about.

The husbands, sons, brothers and sweethearts fighting our battles in France and Flanders are more than worthy of the support of every penny we can lend and of self-sacrifice to the uttermost.

Egbert the Tank & Bridgend Town Hall

Dunraven Place, Bridgend - June 1918

1918 - The Tanks will be at these locations

Newport & Maesteg on June 17
Newport & Bridgend on June 18 & 19
Newport on June 20 & 21
Newport & Caerphilly on June 22
To receive your money - BUY War Savings Certificates & National War Bonds. Make YOUR TOWN'S Total top every other Town in the Country. Your duty is to help to pay for the War.

Go to the Tank and do it...

War Bonds

These are debt securities issued by a government to finance military operations and other expenditure in times of war.

Further Reading

1. War Bond (Wikipedia) -
2. The Cambrai Operations (The British Army of 1914-18) -
3. Battle of Cambrai 1917 (Wikipedia) -

The First World War around Kenfig - Coming soon on our new website

Extract from Glamorgan Gazette - Friday June 14, 1918
website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: National Library of Wales, 'Welsh Newspapers Online' (; Cymru 1914 - The Welsh Experience of the First Wourld War (; Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services; Remembering Bridgend website (Bridgend Town Hall photo: credit Peter Bloss via Tim Wood);
First World War Bonds Poster
First World War Bonds Poster
First World War Bonds Poster

KENFIG HERITAGE - Transport - Railways

Pyle - The Great Western Railway

The History of the Railway Station & Junction at Pyle

Original Station opened in 1850, relocated in 1876 with branch lines to Tondu & Porthcawl

Brief History

The original railway station at Pyle was located alongside the Crown Inn and opened in 1850 by the South Wales Railway. A need for the railway was created from a necessity to ship coal from the South Wales valleys to London and complete Isambard Kingdom Brunel's vision of linking London with New York & the South Wales coal and ferries to Ireland.

Pyle Railway Station was relocated eastwards towards Stormy Down in 1876 and amalgamated with the former Llynvi Ogmore Railway.

Pyle Junction, together with its extensive sidings was an important strategic point on the South Wales railway system not only for passengers (commuting from or visiting the seaside resort of Porthcawl) but also for freight & bulk-traffic especially the limestone from local quarries which was essential for the iron & steel making industries.

This was evidenced during the Second Word War by two military 'pill-boxes' of the nearby RAF Stormy Down overlooking its approaches.

Pyle Railway Station was closed by the Western Region of British Railways in 1964 as part of the Beeching Axe on the UK railways.

In June 1994 a third Railway Station was opened at Pyle as part of the Swanline initiative - this new station is situated to the west of both the first & second stations that initially previously served the Pyle & surrounding areas.

The Pyle Inn (19th Century)

Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859)

This 18th century Coaching Inn built in Pyle by the Margam Estate was not only used for its intended purpose but also as a meeting place of various County bodies until it was turned into flats in 1896 and then demolished in 1959.

The Inn was visited by many famous people including the great engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel who stayed at the Inn whilst supervising the laying of the main railway line through the district between 1849-50.

Further Reading

1. Pyle Railway Station (Wikipedia) -
2. South Wales Railway (Wikipedia) -
3. Isambard Kingdom Brunel (Wikipedia) -
4. Great Western Railway (Wikipedia) -
5. Llynvi & Ogmore Railway (Wikipedia) -
6. Beeching Cuts (Wikipedia) -
7. The Pyle Inn (built c.1786)( -
Pyle Railway Station & Junction - OS Map 1949

The History of the Railway Station & Junction at Pyle - Coming soon to the new Website

website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: National Library of Wales, 'Welsh Newspapers Online' (; Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services; Wikipedia; Image of Isambard Kingdom Brunel Standing Before the Launching Chains of the Great Eastern, photograph by Robert Howlett. Now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Image in Public Domain);
Pyle Junction Railway Station
Pyle Railway Station Staff c.1920
Pyle Junction Railway Station

KENFIG HERITAGE - Community - Sports Section

Cefn Cribwr... Rugby Football

The History of Rugby Union football at Cefn Cribwr

Cefn Cribwr Athletic RFC

Brief History of the Cefn Club Crest

In 1958 the club committee decided to have a club badge-crest. It was suggested by Mr Cyril Beale that permission be sought from Mr Knight of Tythegston to use part, or all, of his family crest. A meeting was arranged with Mr Knight and Mr C Beale together with Messrs. Wilf Wintle, E. Thomas, H. Watkins and I. Greenslade.

Mr Knight agreed for his family crest to be used by Cefn Cribwr Athletic Club as their official badge. Gloria Calcarhabet - Honour is the spur

Official Opening of Cefn Cribwr RFC Clubhouse

The official opening of the new clubhouse in Cefn Cribwr occured on Friday 16 May 2014. It was officiated by the Rt. Hon Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister Welsh Government, Mr.Roger Lewis CEO Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) & Mr.Warren Gatland, Coach Wales B&I Lions together with Cefn Club Chairman Mr. Rhydian James.

History of Cefn Cribwr Athletic RFC - Coming soon to the new Website

website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services; Cefn Cribwr Athletic RFC; Rob Bowen (ODPDS Creative); Welsh Rugby Union (WRU);
Cefn Cribwr Junior RFC 1920-21
Cefn Cribwr RFC 1st XV c.1905
Cefn Cribbwr RFC, 1936-37 season

KENFIG HERITAGE - Community - Newton-Nottage, Porthcawl

Notable People from the Area - Hall of Fame

William Weston Young (1776-1847)

Quaker entrepreneur, artist, botanist, wreck-raiser, surveyor, potter & inventor of the Firebrick


William Weston Young was born in Bristol in 1776 and brought up within a Quaker family background. He married another Quaker, Elizabeth Davies in April 1795. He came to Wales in 1798 and leased a farm and mill at Aberdulais in the Neath Valley.

A combination of bad luck, drought and bad harvests made this business venture a failure and he was declared bankrupt by the age of 26. Having lost everything he managed to borrow money and invested in becoming a draughtsman at the Cambrian Pottery in Swansea. he made engravings for a book and painted the famouos Swansea pottery - still owing monies to his creditors he turned to 'Wreck-Raising' to earn more money and this brought him to Newton-Nottage, Porthcawl.

Wreck Raising

Wreck-raising and cargo-salvaging had been a 'hit or miss' affair during the 18th century but William Weston Young brought new ideas to the task with his detailed pre-planning techniques.

He conducted a survey of the coastline in the Bristol Channel around the Porthcawl area and calculated the amount of shipwrecks that had occurred in the 4 most dangerous areas, namely:
The Black Rocks
Tusker Rock
Scarweather Sands
Sker Point
The result of this appauled him so he made a more detailed inventory of 39 shipwrecks off Newton between 1797 and 1818. He invented an ingenious grab to get at the cargoes and within the first year of his venture recovered copper from the Anne and Teresa ships which yielded a profit of £1400.

The Seaman's Grave

'On Southern Cambria's rugged coast
Where Sker's wild rocks repel the wave
Half in the foam and vapour lost,
I found the seaman's grave'

Extract from 'The Seaman's Grave' by William Weston Young (1776-1847) of Newton-Nottage, Porthcawl.

Further Reading

1. William Weston Young (Wikipedia) -
website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services; Porthcawl, Newton & Nottage, Alun Morgan, 1989; Wikipedia; Image of William Weston Young in Quaker silhouette style is only known image of the Quaker entrepreneur (Image in Public Domain);

KENFIG HERITAGE - War Years - The First World War around Kenfig (1914-18)

ROYAL BRITISH NAVY - Porthcawl (post WWI)

HMS Swordfish (1913-1923)

experimental submarine built for the Royal Navy

HMS Swordfish - (Ordered 8 Aug 1913, launched 18 March 1916 & commissioned 28 April 1916)

HMS Swordfish was an experimental submarine built for the Royal Navy before the First World War to meet the Navy's goal of an overseas submarine capable of 20 knots on the surface. Steam turbines were proposed to power the submarine as diesel engines of the period were unreliable. Swordfish proved to be slower than designed and unstable while surfacing & was therefore modified as an anti-submarine patrol vessel in 1917.

HMS Swordfish was paid off before the end of the First World War and sold for scrapping in 1922. It was initially sold to Pounds of Portsmouth in July 1922 but was reported to have been resold to Hayes of Porthcawl in 1923. HMS Swordfish allegedly was the longest vessel to use Porthcawl docks. HMS Swordfish had an overall length of 231 feet (70.498 metres).

Further Reading

1. HMS Swordfish (1916)(Wikipedia) -
HMS Swordfish

website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services; Image from the Romance of a Submarine by G. Gibbard Jackson, 1919; Wikipedia;

KENFIG HERITAGE - Community - Kenfig Hill

Notable People from the Area - Hall of Fame

Obituary: Mr Thomas Thomas (1853-1915) of Kenfig Hill

A Member of distinguished Caradog's Choir of Aberdare, Clerk to Kenfig Hill Parish Council & Deacon of Moriah Chapel

Member of Caradog's Choir dies at Kenfig Hill

The funeral of Mr Thomas Thomas A.C., of Kenfig Hill, the late collector of water rents under the Penybont Rural District Council, who died on Saturday last, took place on Wednesday at Cornelly Cemetery.

The funeral service was conducted by the Rev. D. Teify Davies and the Revs. T. Howells, E.W. Pearce, T.M. Williams and T.R. Williams also took part in the service. Mrs S.A. Lewis and Miss Rees presided at the organ. The funeral was largely attended.

The Bridgend District of Oddfellows was represented by Mr Thomas R. Lewis (Grand Master), Mr J.R. Williams (deputy Grand Master) and Mr David Williams (Provincial C.S.). Wreaths were sent by the Lodge of Oddfellows, the Parish Council and Moriah Chapel and Pyle C.M. Singing School.

Mr Thomas Thomas

The life of Mr Thomas Thomas was a very interesting one.

He was born at Kenfig Hill on the 23rd January 1853, educated at Bryndu schools and worked as traffic manager at Kenfig Hill, Cymmer and Maesteg. Very early in life he studied music in John Caradog's choir at Aberdare. He was secretary of the Mansel Abbey Lodge of Oddfellows for 28 years and was a P.P.G.M. of the Bridgend district.

He also represented the district at the Aberystwyth and Scarborough A.R.C. He was clerk to the Kenfig Hill Parish Council and rate collector since 1907. He was a deacon of the Moriah C.M. Chapel for forty years and leader of the singing there. In addition he was leader of the singing festivals in the district since their commencement.

The deceased gentleman was well-known and highly respected. He was a man of splendid character, straightforward and true. His demise will be a great loss to the neighbourhood, especially in religious circles.

Further Reading

1. Griffith Rhys Jones (Caradog 1834-1897)(National Library of Wales) -
2. Sir William Goscombe John (1860-1952)(National Library of Wales) -
3. Caradog - A Living Heritage Project -
4. Griffith Rhys Jones (Wikipedia) -
5. The Oddfellows since 1810 (Swansea & Bridgend District) -

Mr Thomas Thomas (1853-1915)

Extract from Glamorgan Gazette - Friday July 9, 1915
website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: National Library of Wales, 'Welsh Newspapers Online' (; Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services;

KENFIG HERITAGE - Maps of the Area - Cefn Cribwr

The Edwin Map of 1779

Old Maps of the Kenfig & Surrounding Area

Cefn Cribbwr in the 18th Century - The Edwin Map of 1779

The Edwin Map of 1779 is a map of the Coity Estate at and near Cefn Cribbwr in the feverad Parishes of Newcastle, Laleston & Tythegstone within the Manors of Newcastle, Court Coleman and Cefn Cribbwr. The Edwin Map is shown below - the bottom photo is a close-up of the map which clearly shows that there was once a windmill situated in Cefn Cribbwr.

The Edwin Map of 1779
Close up of The Edwin Map of 1779

Old Maps of the Kenfig & Surrounding Area - Coming soon to the new Website

website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services;

KENFIG HERITAGE - Community - Cornelly

Notable People from the Area - Hall of Fame

Mary Francis (1780-1890) - known as Bopa

One of the longest living residents of Cornelly

Obituary: Death of the Cornelly Centenarian

A Woman 110 Years Old

Mary Francis, the Cornelly centenarian, died shortly after midnight on Thursday morning at the reputed age of 110.

This remarkable old woman, if the statement be correct, was born at Llansamlet, near Swansea on August 15th 1780. She was twice married and for the last 74 years had lived at the village of South Cornelly near Bridgend with her widowed daughter. Her mother, it is stated, died at the age of 111.

She has four children living, all of them over 70 years of age. Up to the last years of her life her faculties remained remarkably clear. She could neither read nor write.

She is described by those who knew her as a remarkably industrious woman and found employment of various kinds on the neighbouring farms. She was confined to her bed for the last two years and was in the habit of being visited by a large number of persons.

Mary Francis is buried at Mawdlam Churchyard.

Mary Francis (1780-1890)

Known as Bopa

Mary Francis (A woman who lived to be 110 years of age) - Coming soon to the new Website

Extact from South Wales Daily News, September 19, 1890
website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: National Library of Wales, 'Welsh Newspapers Online' (; Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services;

KENFIG HERITAGE - The Old Kenfig Borough c.1147-1886

Beginning of The Kenfig Corporation Property (1886) & The Kenfig Corporation Trust (1998)

The Municipal Corporations Act 1883

Dissolution of the Borough of Kenfig on 25 March 1886

Unreformed Corporations - Kenfig

At a time when Sir Charles Dilke is propunding a scheme for more direct administration of local affairs in the provinces of England and Wales, what little vitality is left in moribund and close orporations is fast ebbing away. In the first quarter of the ensuing year many ancient charters will have ceased to exist or the towns which hold them will be invested with powers to administer affairs under the reformed municipal system, or they will wield such authority as is excercised by local boards.

Already the Argus eye of the Local Government Board is fixed upon these old charters and inquiries are being held for the purpose of determining in what way the corporate funds shall be invested and how the affairs of these ancient towns shall be in the future controlled.

A few days ago a Local Government offical visited the ancient town of Kenfig and invited the burgesses and others to confer with him on these points. Many interesting records might be strung together with respect to the history of Kenfig and its charter. From a perusal of the latter, it is reasonable to suppose that Kenfig was once an important town but the incursion of sand has swept it away and the only vestiges of its former greatness are a fragment of its ancient castle and an old font, the latter being fixed in the new church.

History of Kenfig

The history of Kenfig is usually associated with the Norman Conquest of Glamorgan. According to Welsh history the town fell into the hands of Iestyn ap Gwrgan in the settlements made by the Earls of Gloucester as lords of Glamorgan.

It was created a borough contemporaneously with Cowbridge, Neath, Avon and Llantrissant and that necessary adjunct to a borough, a castle, is said to have been built in the eleventh century, while marts for merchandise were erected upon the sea bank. In the same century the first church was built and dedicated to St.James and the town received several gifts and privileges under Magna Charta.

The Abbot of Margam, it is recorded, gave 100 marks and two good horses for the lands of the Welsh in the territory of Kenfig, in perpetual alms. The earliest charter preserved at Kenfig is one of Thomas le Despenser (a descendant of the Lords of Glamorgan) although it is clear by references therein that there was one or more granted prior to that.

The parish of Kenfig contains about 1,550 acres, of which a considerable portion are sandhills. By the old constitution the government is vested in a portreeve, recorder, and alderman, the office of constable of the castle being held, we believe, at the present time by Mr William Llewellyn of Court Coleman.

The abbey lands at Kenfig were granted in 1546 to Sir Rice Mansell, at a yearly rent of twelve shillings and among his descendants they have since remained; being of course now held by Mr C.R.M.Talbot, of Margam Park. Under this ancient charter many privileges were granted to the burgesses. They were to be "quit of toll, murage, pontage, pavage, terrage, quayage and pickae, throughout his (Thomas le Despenser) lordship in England and Wales."

All merchandise arriving by land or water or in transit had to be declared to the constable before sale or removal, under penalty; and no stranger was allowed, except at markets and fairs to buy from any but the burgesses. Speaking of fairs it may be remarked that two fairs were allowed in the town annually, one from the vigil of St.James, for eight days; the other on Tuesday in Pentecost week.

Extensive rights of pasturage were also enjoyed by the burgesses and any others infringing upon these rights were liable to fine. The fetters imposed upon trade read curiously enough today; yet some of the regulations are still in existence for the observance of the Sabbath &c.

The town baker was licensed by the portreeve and he was to bake good and sufficient bread of certain fixed dimensions; while the oven-keeper had to provide proper weights for his customers. No corn was to be bought in the market for malting and no baker or brewer was allowed to buy it there before noon in summer or eleven in winter. Brewers were to brew good ale, third drink and small drink.

Butchers were not to open on Sunday nor to use the High street as a slaughter-house, nor to throw out garbage there, nor, being burgesses, to sell flesh elsewhere than in the shambles, nor strangers within the town save on Friday and Saturday.

These latter were to bring in the hides of the beasts - a perquisite it would seem of the town officials. The merchandise brought into the town was to be purchased by proper officers and then offered to the burgesses.

All strangers selling fish were to be fined and the local purveyour was not to be forestalled by the "chencer" in the sale of poultry and dairy produce. Pugilists and brawlers were to be fined and female scolds were made to sit on the "cucking stool"; one hour for the first offence; next for tow hours and for subsequent offences to be "ducked" and fined.

There were sanitary laws then in existence; no swine were allowed to roam about or to be kept within the precincts of the town; cattle were not to be milked in the street.

Every householder had to pave and clean the highway in front of his dwelling; no stranger was allowed to buy corn in the market until the portreeve, alderman and burgesses had been served; except that "gentlemen" should be able to buy for their households.

Any stranger found walking about the town after 9pm and not having a lawful excuse was to pay a fine of twelvepence and to be cast into the lock-up at Aberavon, pending the portreeve's pleasure. The majority of these restrictions have been swept away; so is the ancient town of Kenfig which lies buried in the sand; and although the burgesses, now periodically elect their mayor, aldermen and ale taster, they otherwise follow the customs and usages of modern life.

Kenfig Burgesses

The burgesses of Kenfig, however, enjoy certain privileges in the shape of compensation for pasturage rights etc &c. These they desire to retain, but as their ancient charter will soon be of no other value than that of an historical curiosity, it is not probable that they will be able to maintain them.

The overflow of sand deprived the burgesses of much of their fair possessions and in 1752, 78 of the burgesses were empowered to enclose a ditch and allot to 29 burgesses part of cefn-cribbwr Common. None of these allotments were to be sold, save at a fixed price and never to a stranger to the exclusion of a burgess.

Twenty-nine burgesses were represented at the inquiry held a few days ago and as Margam was often mentioned in common with Kenfig in the privileges of the ancient charter, so we find the newly-constituted authority at Margam - the local board - represented on the inquiry.

That body suggested that the property of the Kenfig burgesses should be invested in Consols, while the burgesses themselves made various suggestions. Mr E.P.Burd, the Local Government Board Inspector, elicited the information that the monetary possessions of the burgesses consisted of a bond from Mr.C.R.M.Talbot for the sum of £1.600 for land which they had sold that gentleman at Kenfig-hill and Gwainycymla in 1841; and £100 from the South Wales Railway Company for compensation for constructing their railway over the common lands of the borough.

Twenty-nine of the burgesse received 11s per annum more than others on account of some improvements made by their ancestors. There was a sum of £80 divisable among the burgesses annually; the interest on the principal paid by Mr Talbot for aquiring that land. The burgesses wished to retain this monetary interest in perpetuity but the inspector explained that the corporation would shortly be done away with entirely; and that as soon as the present people die, the members who had formed the corporation would die too.

Finding this suggestion was not tenable, the burgesses severally advocated that the money should be used to keep the sand back; to provide a bathing house or private hotel; or to obtain a proper water supply. It was also suggested that the funds should be used to found a classical or agricultural scholarship in connection with the University College at Cardiff.

The ultimate course to be adopted will be made known later on; but the final expression of opinion among the burgesses at the close of the enquiry was that the common lands should not be sold on the dissolution of the corporation.

Further Reading

1. Sir Charles Dilke, 2nd Baronet (Wikipedia) -,_2nd_Baronet
2. Norman invasion of Wales (Wikipedia) -
3. Margam Abbey (c.1147-1536)(Wikipedia) -
5. Thomas le Despenser, 1st Earl of Gloucester (1373-1400)(Wikipedia) -,_1st_Earl_of_Gloucester
6. Municipal Corporations Act 1883 (The National Archives) -
7. Unreformed Boroughs in England & Wales (1835-1886)(Wikipedia) -
8. The Kenfig Corporation Trust -
9. The Kenfig Corporation Trust ( -

The old Kenfig Borough c.1147-1886

History of Kenfig - Coming soon to the new Website

Extact from Cardiff Times & South Wales Weekly News - Sat Oct 24, 1885
website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: National Library of Wales, 'Welsh Newspapers Online' (; Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services; Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council; Wikipedia;
Sketch of old Court House at Kenfig c.1913
Prince of Wales Inn, Kenfig
Prince of Wales Inn, Kenfig

KENFIG HERITAGE - Community - Pyle

Notable People from the Area - Hall of Fame

Sir James LaRoche (or Laroche), 1st Baronet (1734-1804)

Buried at St James' Church, Pyle

James La Roche

Sir James LaRoche (or Laroche), 1st Baronet was a British slave trader and politician.

He was born a younger son of John Laroche M.P. He was a slave trader operating from Bristol and was also Sheriff of Bristol (1764-65). He was a master of the Society of Merchant Venturers in 1782-83. In the mid 18th century he purchased the Elizabethan mansion Over Court near Almondsbury, Gloucestershire. He represented Bodin in Parliament between 1768 & 1780.

In 1776 he was created a baronet of Over in the Parish of Almondsbury in the County of Gloucester. He was declared a bankrut in 1778. He died in September 1804 aged 70 when the baronetcy became extinct. He had married twice: firstly Elizabeth, the daughter and heiress of John Yeamans of Antigua, & the widow of William Yeamans Archbould of Antigua and Bristol and secondly Elizabeth Thursley, with whom he had one son.

Society of Merchant Venturers

Sir James LaRoche (or Laroche), 1st Baronet was a master of the Society of Merchant Venturers in 1782-83. This society is a private entrepreneurial and charitable organisation located in Bristol.

The Society of Merchant Venturers dates back to a 13th century guild which went on to fund John Cabot's voyage to Newfoundland before it received it's Royal Charter in 1552. The society was synonymous with the government of Bristol especially its port and it played a big part in the building of the Clifton Suspension Bridge & the Great Western Railway. It was also involved with the development of Bristol University.

The Story of an 18th century Politician & Slave Trader who became bankrupt and is buried at St James' Church in Pyle...

Coming soon to the new Website

St James' Church Pyle

St James' Church, Pyle
Alongside the path leading to the porch of St James Church lay a slab to the memory of Sir James LaRoche, Bart., who died in 1804 aged 70 and of his wife, Dame Elizabeth LaRoche who died in 1824.

This Sir James was the grandson of a Peter Crothaire of Bordeaux who came to England in the train of Prince George of Denmark, husband of Queen Anne.

On settling in England, Crothaire changed his name to LaRoche.

His eldest son, John, born in 1700 was M.P. for Bodmin and was the father of Sir James, who was born in 1734. The latter lived at Over, Gloucester and was also M.P. for Bodmin. He was created a baronet in 1776 and following the death of his first wife he settled in Wales, marrying Elizabeth Thursley, widow at Llangynwyd on July 13th, 1795.

It is believed Sir James La Roche once lived at Pyle Cottage and later moved to Longland Farm in Pyle.

Further Reading

1. James La Roche (Wikipedia) -
3. Peter Crothaire (LaRoche) (Ancestry Message Board) -
4. Society of Merchant Venturers (Wikipedia) -
5. Transatlantic Slave Trade (Port Cities: Bristol) -
website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services; The Story of Kenfig, A.L. Evans, 1960; The London Gazette; Wikipedia;

KENFIG HERITAGE - War Years - The First World War around Kenfig (1914-18)

Southerndown - The Rest Convalescent Home

The Rest Convalescent Home, Southerndown

Opened as a St John auxiliary military hospital in 1916

Opened for Wounded Soldiers

Great Sacrifice of the Working Classes

The "Rest" Convalescent Home at Southerndown was opened on Saturday as a St John auxiliary military hospital.

As in the case of the Porthcawl "Rest" the institution has been handed over for the winter months, together with the winter staff, to the St David's Centre of the St John Ambulance Association and will be staffed by members of the association, whom the British Red Cross Society will be invited to assist.

The commandant is Mrs Kate Lewis; the matron Miss Ruffle and the medical officer, Dr. W. Edmund Thomas, Bridgend.

Lord Aberdare, who is one of the vice-presidents of the St David's Centre, presided at the inaugural ceremony and was supported on the platform by Colonel J.P. Turbervill (chairman of the "Rest" Committee), Canon David Davies, Mr Herbert Lewis (deputy commissioner for Wales of the Order of St John) and Mr E.M. Corbett, Cardiff (member of the Executive committee of the St David's Centre).

There were also present Mr, Mrs and Miss Ingledew, Cardiff; Colonel, Mrs and Miss Denniss; Colonel Wallace; Colonel, Mrs and Miss Arnallt Jones; Mrs Oakden Fisher, Radyr; the Rev. David Phillips, Vicar of Newcastle, Bridgend; the Rev. T.D. Bevan, Vicar of Ewenny; the Rev. M. Evanson, Merthyrmawr; Mrs Vernon Hartshorn, Maesteg; Mrs Bramley, commandant of the British Red Cross Hospital, Bridgend; Miss Booker, commandant of the British Red Cross Hospital, Slon; Dr and Mrs W. Edmund Thomas, Bridgend; Mr A. Williams, secretary of the "Rests"; Mr D.T. Alexander; Mr and Mrs Pardoe, Barry; Mr Evan David, Blaengarw; Mr and Mrs H.O. Irvine, Southerndown; Mr and Mrs Davison, Pontypridd; Miss Lambton, matron, Porthcawl "Rest"; Sister Carr, Mrs Lewis, widow of Dr. Lewis, founder of the Porthcawl "Rest"; the Rev. D.T. Griffiths, vicar of St Bride's Major and others.

Lord Aberdare said it was a proud and satisfactory thing to all dwellers in the land of Morgan that, while their county had been, if not the premier county, certainly the second in the field as a recruiting area, they were also second to none in providing hospital accommodation for wounded soldiers.

Every corner of the county was being used for this purpose and every rank and every class were represented in this good work, but in the handing over of the "Rests" it was the old people and the young children who were making the greatest sacrifices and he believed they were doing it willingly for the sake of those who were wounded.

His lordship concluded by handing over the building, on behalf of the "Rest" Committee to Mr E.M. Corbett, as representing the St John Ambulance Association.

Mr E.M. Corbett said that when the history of the Southerndown "Rest" came to be written it would be one of the brightest pages which dealt with the period of its existence when it ministered to the health and aided the recuperation of those men who had been willing to make the greatest sacrifice of all to guard these shores.

Though the building was nominally handed over to the Hospital of St John, the assistance of British Red Cross Society nurses would be asked for, and their services accepted with the greatest alacrity and satisfaction.

Canon David Davies having conducted the religious part of the ceremony, Colonel Wallace proposed a vote of thanks to the "Rest" Committee and said it was a great boon to have auxiliary hosptials such as that to which to send the patients.

Colonel Denniss, seconding, said that if we were to get any good out of the war, as he believed we should, one of the greatest things would be the magnificent expression of sympathy which was evoked between one class and another and between all members of the community. Colonel J.P. Turbervill, responding for the "Rest" Committee, said the working classes formed a majority of the subscribers to the institution and more than half the subscriptions came from them.

The handing over of the "Rest" was easy enough for some of them to agree to, but, on the part of the working classes, it was a very great sacrifice. (Hear, hear)

Their representatives said that no sacrifice was too great to make for those who had been wounded in the war. A vote of thanks was also passed to Lord Aberdare, on the proposition of Col. Arnallt Jones, seconded by the Rev. David Phillips, Vicar of Newcastle, Bridgend.

Mr Herbert Lewis read a letter from the Hon. Arthur Stanley, M.V.O., M.P., chairman of the Joint War Committee, offering congratulations on the good work of the Order of St John and a letter from Colonel Hepburn, of the 3rd Western General Hospital, acknowledging the great assiatance he had received from the Order.

Mr Lewis said that in Wales alone 25,000 beds were set apart for the reception and nursing of the wounded and in Glamorgan the Order of St John had 500 beds and he believed the British Red Cross Society had about the same number. At Porthcawl there was accommodation for 175 beds and at Southerndown at least 60 beds.

It was hoped by the medical authorities and the Army Council that they would deal with those who came direct from the field. Mr Lewis thanked the nurses, who, he said, came at no cost to the society, and, in most instances, went so far as to pay their own railway fares.

The Rest Convalescent Home Southerndown & The First World War... Coming soon on our new website

Extact from Glamorgan Gazette - Friday January 21, 1916
website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: National Library of Wales, 'Welsh Newspapers Online' (; Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services; RCAHMW; Remembering Bridgend
Dunraven Hotel - built 1852-53
Wounded soldiers at Southerndown Rest c.1918
Dunraven Hotel - c.1977

Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) | |

New Kenfig Website is taking shape

Multi-level Navigational Aides - Finding information quicker & easier

New Kenfig website Navigation
We have intigrated new navigational systems into the entire new Kenfig website. The main horizontal drop-down mega menu will be visible at all times on all web pages throughout the entire website which will be located to the top of each web page - this menu system contains all the main subject areas through the entire Kenfig website.

Each sub-section within each main subject area itself will have further multi-level navigational aides to help the viewer find further relevant information associated with that particular main subject area quicker and easier.

The new navigation sections are part of the main Kenfig website structure & programming (created & provided by ODPDS Digital & Creative) which makes this online resource a totally unique experience & repository that can be used by all especially for education, for writers and researchers including family historians on all elements of the history of Kenfig & its surrounding areas.

The new Kenfig website is on the server & is now being populated with information...

Regular updates will be provided as to its ongoing progress.

website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: ODPDS Digital & Creative -

horizontal drop-down mega menu
horizontal drop-down mega menu
sub-section multi-level navigational aides
sub-section multi-level navigational aides

KENFIG HERITAGE - War Years - The First World War around Kenfig (1914-18)

Education - Sir Edward Anwyl at Kenfig Hill in February 1914

Life in the Kenfig Hill area before the outbreak of World War I

Lecture on Education at Elim Chapel - February 1914

Sir Edward Anwyl (1866-1914)

Edward Anwyl was a Celtic scholar - born August 5, 1866 at Chester he was educated at the King's School, Chester and at Oriel &Mansfield colleges, Oxford. He became professor of Welsh at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth in 1892 and later professor of Comparative Philology. He was appointed 1st principal of Monmouthshire Training College, Caerleon in 1913 - he died on August 8, 1914.

He was a member of the University of Wales Theological Board, the central Welsh Board, the Royal Commission on Ancient Monuments (Wales) and the Council of the National Library of Wales. He was also a lay preacher among the independants.

He was a great scholar and was in the forefront of Welsh cultural life & activities. He was knighted in 1911.

Lecture on Education

At Elim Congregational Chapel on Friday evening, under the auspices of the Young Liberal's League, a lecture on "Education in the Modern State" was given by Sir Edward Anwyl. The chair was taken by Mr John Matthews.

At the commencement of his lecture Sir Edward delivered a few words in the vernacular. He dwelt on the importance of education in the modern state and traced the progress of education from primitive times up to the present day.

Even among savage tribes education was non-existent and the traditions of the tribes were carefully preserved and handed down from father to son, and the domestic arts from mother to daughter. Education was a prominent factor in the old Greek civilisation and rose to great heights.

Even then the State as such did not take a prominent part in systems of education.

It was the city that was the dominant factor. Under the influence of Greek civilisation education spread as far as Asia Minor and Egypt where an excellent school was founded at Alexandria. To the Greek civilisation they owed the introduction of science. Strange as it seemed, they owed much to the Arabs for it was through them that our system of figures was introduced, which did away with the cumbrous Roman numerals.

After the fall of Grecian civilisation arose the Roman rule to which we were much indebted. Then after the conquest of Rome by savage nations Education received a severe blow and Europe during the dark ages was set back for hundreds of years.

Wonderful to relate, it was from Ireland that the dawn came and Irish monks who had retained much of Latin learning crossed over to the Continent and established schools. Not even after the Reformation did the State take any active part in educating the masses.

Indeed, it was only in comparatively recent years that the education of the masses had received any attention. Even the books of E.J. Locke and others education meant the training of the classes to rule. We were much indebted to the Church for imparting education from the middle ages onward.

Education at that time was solely in the hands of Christian bodies. He (Sir Edward) was pleased to note the zeal for education that existed in Wales, notably in Glamorgan. But it was a mistake to imagine that such zeal existed all over England. He had had much to do with counties where the labouring classes were quite apathetic. Such was not the case, however, in the great industrial centres. He was pleased to note the attention paid to the applied arts at the present day.

Much attention should be paid to writing and in instructing pupils to express themselves correctly. Reading also should receive attention. A vote of thanks to the lecturer was proposed by the Rev. T.M. Williams, Pisgah and seconded by the Rev. Dan Williams, Elim and Mr D.H. Price also spoke.

Further Reading

1. Sir Edward Anwyl (1866-1914)(Wikipedia) -
2. Sir Edward Anwyl (1866-1914)(National Library of Wales) -
3. Sir Edward Anwyl Works (Internet Archive) - Sir Edward Anwyl Works (Internet Archive)
Extact from Glamorgan Gazette - Friday February 13, 1914
website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: National Library of Wales, 'Welsh Newspapers Online' (; National Library of Wales; Wikipedia; Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services

KENFIG HERITAGE - War Years - The First World War around Kenfig (1914-18)

Porthcawl - The Rest Convalescent Home

The Rest Convalescent Home, Porthcawl

History of a respite by the sea for the relief of the suffering

Brief History

A request was made to Florence Nightingale in November 1871 by Charlotte Lewis, the wife of Dr James Lewis for her advice on the design of a new convalescent home which was proposed to be built near Porthcawl. Florence Nighingale wrote, "Other people begin with a prospectus, great names, a secretary, a public meeting & a castle in the air. You begin with a cottage, a few suffering people who alas number a great many & your own noble personal exertions and wise practical benevolence".

The imposing dressed-stone building which emerged from that scheme remains an enduring monument to all involved in its creation. Its origins started a decade earlier by the doctor and his wife in a more modest enterprise & in a practical scheme for the relief of the suffering.

The Rest's Founder

James Lewis FRCS, MRCP was born in 1817 at Michaelston-super-Ely & was a claimed descendant from one of Glamorgan's ancient gentry families. He trained at Guy's Hospital in London where he qualified as a Physician & Surgeon. Following his marriage to Charlotte Lynch Blosse he returned to South Wales and established himself in general practice in Maesteg in the Llynfi Valley.

The industrial communities provided Dr Lewis with the majority of his patients gaining first-hand experience in treating the sick & injured iron workers, colliers, quarrymen and their families - this convinced him for the need of some sort of convalescent home for the working man and his dependents. He looked to the coast & to the parish of Newton Nottage near Porthcawl with its limestone downs, extensive bays, pure water & mild climate.

The doctor & his wife purchased 3 small cottages with the help of donations and in the summer of 1862 opened their doors to a few of his patients. The success of this exceeded their expectations which resulted in 'The Rest' becoming a home by the sea.

The Rest Cottages are situated on New Road, Porthcawl. The lease on these cottages was purchased in 1862 and thus was the beginning of The Rest Convelescent Home in Porthcawl.

The response from benefactors & patients within the first 12 months reinforced the doctor's conviction of the needs of a convalescent home & this encouraged him to launch an appeal throughout the county to landowners, iron masters, colliery proprietors and the public at large. The success of that appeal can be gauged from the impressive list of names on the founders board.

Plans for a building were drawn up with an estimation of building costs in the region of £14,700 to complete the project - this was exclusive of the cost of the furnishings.

The Margam Estate

In January 1874 the site offered by Mr C R M Talbot of the Margam Estate of 10 acres of land overlooking Rest Bay had been accepted. The appeal for funds continued by the then formed committee of trustees. It was nearly a decade later before the dream of Dr Lewis was to be realized due to lack of funds; the original plans were scaled down - it was agreed to build only half the main block together with kitchens at a cost of just of £4,000.

The Rest committee assured its supporters that as the building was designed on a block system it could be erected in stages - work commenced on its erection & in July 1878 the new Rest received its first patients. Initially these were only male patients but with the completion of the central block in 1893 women patients were also admitted. Building works continued with the west wing being completed by 1901 making it also possible to accommodate children.

Finally in 1909 the building was completed with the addition of the east wing providing an assembly hall & with more wards above.

The First World War

At the end of 1915 the premises were put at the disposal of the St John's Ambulance Association as an Auxiliary War Hospital & continued in this role for the remainder of the Great War. During this period almost 2,500 casualties from the British, Australian, New Zealand & Canadian forces received treatment at The Rest. There is an original autograph book signed by some of the injured servicemen that stayed at The Rest during this time.

The Second World War

At the end of 1939 the military authorities once again requisitioned The Rest for the duration of the war. It would be 7 years before The Rest reverted to its original full civilian usage.

Further Reading

1. Florence Nightingale (Wikipedia) -
2. Guys Hospital, London (Wikipedia) -'s_Hospital

The Rest Convalescent Home & The First World War... Coming soon on our new website

website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services; Porthcawl Museum & Historical Society; Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council; Wikipedia;
The Rest Home c.1880
The Rest Convelescent Home, Porthcawl
The Rest Home c.1880

KENFIG HERITAGE - War Years - The First World War around Kenfig (1914-18)

Kenfig Hill - Roll of Honour

Private George James Crocombe - 10th Lancashire Fusiliers

Age 21 from Evans Street, Kenfig Hill

Killed in Action - Kenfig Hill Boy and his Pals

Information has been received from France of the death in action of Private George Jas. Crocombe, 10th Lancs. Fusiliers, whose home is at Evan Street, Kenfig Hill.

Pte. Crocombe, who was only 21, had been out at the front for about 12 months and some measure of the esteem in which he was held by his pals may be gathered from the following letter addressed to his mother:

It is with the deepest regret, and the regret of my comrades, that I am writing to let you know that your son was killed in action on the 26th May.

He was not with any of his Kenfig Hill chums at the time, as he was out with the battalion bombers. We all felt very much the parting with such a fine fellow as he was.

He was a good soldier and was well liked by all who knew him.

On behalf of all the Kenfig Hill boys out here and the remainder of his Company, we offer you our deepest sympathy.

In addition to the writer, Sergt. Bevan, this letter is signed by the following: Sergts. Smith, Edwards and Hitchings, Cpl. Reed, and Pres. J.J. Davies, W.J. Jones, A.J. Dyer, G. Harris, W. Howells and T. Almond.

All these are Kenfig Hill boys who enlisted at the same time as Pte. Crocombe and have been able to keep together.

First World War (1914-18)

Roll of Honour

Kenfig Hill & District Roll of Honour
Royal British Legion Pyle

Extact from Glamorgan Gazette - Friday July 21, 1916
website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: National Library of Wales, 'Welsh Newspapers Online' (;

KENFIG MARITIME HERITAGE - The Development of Porthcawl

James Brogden (1832-1907)

Kenfig Industrial Heritage - Porthcawl Town, Docks/Dyffryn Llynfi & Porthcawl Railway

Obituary: Death of Mr James Brogden

Maesteg and Tondu Ironworks Recalled

We regret to have to announce the death of Mr James Brogden, which occurred at the Esplanade Hotel, Porthcawl, on Saturday morning.

Mr Brogden had not enjoyed robust health for a considerable time past and he had been confined to his bed for several weeks. His medical attendant was Dr Hartland, Porthcawl.

Mr Brogden was born in Manchester in the year 1832 and came to Porthcawl when about twenty years of age with his father and brothers. His father Mr John Brogden, was one of the big iron manufacturers and contractors of 50 years ago and the family were closely identified with the industrial life of Tondu and Maesteg for years.

At Tondu back in the forties, there were a number of blast furnaces owned by Sir Robert Price for the smelting of iron ore obtained from the Llynfi Valley.

The Tondu ironworks were purchased in 1853 by a company formed by Mr John Brogden under the name of Messrs. J. Brogden and Sons, and Mr James Brogden was for a number of years the manager of the works, residing during that peiod at Tondu House, now the residence of Messrs. North's Navigation Collieries Co., Ltd who eventually acquired the works and collieries formerly owned by Messrs. Brogden.

The company carried on a very extensive iron manufacturing business and also acquired mineral property at Maesteg, Ogmore Vale and Aberdare.

In 1864 they sank the Garth pit at Maesteg, the sinking operations being carried out by the late Mr James Barrow and they also constructed a large number of coke ovens both at Maesteg and Ogmore Vale.

Messrs. Brogden and Sons were also largely interested in the Llynfi and Ogmore Railway Co., which developed the old tram road (along which coal and iron ore used to be hauled from Maesteg to Tondu and Porthcawl) into a modern railroad.

In 1872 Messrs. Brogden and Sons formed the Llynfi, Tondu and Ogmore Coal and Iron Company, which acquired the ironworks established in 1826 at Maesteg, where, by the way, the iron pillars used in the construction of the Bridgend Market in 1836 were manufactured.

The chairman of this company was Mr Alexander Brogden, M.P., a brother of Mr James Brogden.

Early in the seventies Mr James Brogden went to New Zealand to manage a large railroad contract which his firm had undertaken and he remained there for several years.

The Brogdens continued to be the most influential employers of labour in Mid Glamorgan until 1878 when a period of depression in the iron and coal trade brought the Tondu and Maesteg works to a standstill and their connection with those districts came to a close, much to the regret of the community.

Mr James Brogden, during his residence at Tondu was very popular among all classes and especially with the numerous workpeople in the employ of his company who regarded him as a generous employer and a courteous gentleman.

During the colliers' strike of 1873, Messrs. Brogden granted the demands of their men, severing their connection with the Colliery Owners' Association in order that they might do so, a course which involved them in the payment of a heavy penalty.

Mr James Brogden took a great deal of interest in the Volunteer movement and when living at Tondu was an officer in the old 11th Glamorgans.

On his return from New Zealand, Mr Brogden took up his residence at Ferryside, Carmarthenshire and latterly at Porthcawl, where he owned considerable property, including the Esplanade Hotel. Indeed the development of Porthcawl has been in a large measure due to the efforts of Mr Brogden, who invested a great deal of money in various undertakings in the neighbourhood.

The Brogdens purchased the Hollier estate and constructed the Porthcawl Docks, which were transferred to the Great Western Railway Company when the company purchased the Llynfi and Ogmore Railway.

Mr Brogden was one of the promoters of the Porthcawl Waterworks Co., and he also established an electric light undertaking, by which the business portion of the town was lighted for many years. He constructed the old esplanade sea wall and expended large sums in other improvements in the neighbourhood.

He took a great deal of interest in the "Rest" Convalescent Home and was vice-president of the Porthcawl Golf Club to which he presented a handsome bowl for annual competition.

Mrs Brogden, his widow, is a descendant of General Sir Thomas Picton, of Poyston, Pembrokeshire, who commanded the "Fighting Division" in the Peninsular War and fell at Waterloo leading his men to the charge. The deceased was an ardent musician, a member of the Geological Society and of the Royal Geographical Society and in 1878 was president of the South Wales Engineers' Society.

He was a Justice of the Peace for the Newcastle and Ogmore Division.

The Funeral

The funeral, which took place on Monday afternoon, was of a semi-private character.

The body was conveyed by hearse to Newton Parish Church, the interment being made in the family grave. The remains were enclosed in an oak coffin, with massive brass furniture and the name plate bore the inscription: "James Brogden, born April 7th, 1832, died January 26th, 1906."

The service in the church was conducted by the Rev. T. Holmes Morgan (Rector of Newton Nottage) who also performed the last sad rites at the graveside.

The chief mourners were Mrs Brogden (the widow), Miss Brogden (daughter), Mr Picton (brother-in-law). Others present included Drs. Hartland and W.B. Wooding, the staff of the Esplanade Hotel, Messrs. W. Williams, Henry Thomas, W. House, T.L. Nicholls, T. Cook, M. Power, T. James, J. Coombs, Robert Elias, etc.

The floral tributes included a beautiful wreath from the agent and tenants of the Ferryside estate. The funeral arrangememts were in the hands of Mr Leonard Rhys, Queen-street, Bridgend.

Further Reading

1. James Brogden (1832-1907)(Wikipedia) -
2. John Brogden (1798-1869)(Wikipedia) -
Extact from Glamorgan Gazette - Friday Feb 1, 1907
website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: National Library of Wales, 'Welsh Newspapers Online' (; Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services;

KENFIG HERITAGE - Community - Pubs, Inns & Alehouses (Pyle)

The Pyle Inn (An 18th Century Coaching Inn)

Crime & Punishment - History of Glamorgan Constabulary in 1841

Appointment of 1st Chief Constable for Glamorgan at the Pyle Inn

The appointment of the 1st Chief Constable for Glamorgan, Capt. Charles Napier was confirmed at Quarter Sessions at Pyle Inn on 11 August 1841.

Meeting at Pyle Inn

At the General Quarter Sessions of the Peace for the said County, held by adjournment at Pyle Inn, on Monday, the thirtienth day of August, 1841, present John Nicholl, Esq, R. Franklen Esq, and Rev. R. Knight, the Chief Constable of the said County, appointed under the provisions of 2 and 3 Vic., cap.93, having made his report as follows:

To the Magistrates of the County of Glamorgan


At an adjourned Sessions, held at Pyle, on the 11th of August, you conferred upon me the honorable appointment of Chief Constable of this County; I beg to express my sincere acknowledgements and to assure you that my best engeries shall be devoted to maintain the high confidence you have reposed in me.

Having being honored with your instructions to make a tour of the county with a view of suggesting the requisite arranagements prior to the adoption of the new system of police force, I beg to submit the following report as the result of my investigation:

The division of the county into four districts having been resolved upon, I first directed my attention to that point and am of opinion that the arrangement of districts as proposed cannot be improved upon with the exception of Margam Parish, which I recommend to be included in the Swansea District in order that the Aberavon Police Sonstable may extend his beat to Taibach, &c.

In the event of the Borough Towns being incorporated with the new system, a considerable alteration of the Districts would of course be necessary.

To prevent any misunderstanding with regard to the Districts, I have drawn boundary lines and have prepared plans of each District which I now submit for your approval. The plans will also show my proposed disposition of the Force and will obviate unnecassary recapitulation in my report.

I propose placing with each Superintendant a plan of his district and although I have arranged the disposition of the Force, circumstances will often occur which may render it desirable to alter that arrangement and I am of opinion that certain discretionary powers should be vested in the Superintendant to act as the emergency of the case may require.

In alloting to each Constable his portion of the District, I have been guided by the character and extent of the population and the most direct means of communication. I propose that the Force be divided into three classes viz - Sergeant or First Class, at 22s.; Second Class, at 20s.; Third Class, at 18s.; the number would be Sergeants, Eleven; Second Class, Eleven and Third Class, Twelve; by this means no additional expence will be incurred and a sort of emulation and Espirit de Corps created which will tend materially to the efficiency of the Force.


I propose that Merthyr be selected as the station for the Superintendant.

In a populous district such as Merthyr and Dowlais, I think it essential to the efficiency of the Force that the residence for the Police should be provided in the Station-House, the immediate erection of which I would strongly recommend. I think a central site should be selected.

I have inspected the Cells at present in use at Merthyr and found them totally unfit for the recption of prisoners, indeed so much so, that the Magistrates find it necessary to place Prisoners at Public-houses, in charge of a Constable, at a considerable additional expence to the county. I think a Lock-up-house at Aberdare would be advisable, as the Petty Sessions are held there.

On proceeding to Rumney, I, observed, that, although a considerable portion of the Works are in the County of Glamorgan, the main body of the Inhabitants are located in the County of Monmouth, I think some arrangement might be entered into to enable the Constable to act on the Monmouthshire side of the River.


I find that Llantrisant is at present the residence of the Superintendant, but that town being situate near the boundary of the District, I am strongly of opinion that Newbridge shuold be the Station for the Superintendant. Newbridge is nearly the centre of the Distict and from its proximity to the Taff Vale Railway, commands advantages not possessed by Llantrisant.

In erecting a Station-House, I would advise that apartments be provided for the Constable there stationed, with Three Cells for Prisoners. At present there is no Lock-up-house at this place. I consisder Cells necessary for the security of Prsioners, as there is considerable risk in the present method of confining them at the private dwelling of the Constable.

I would recommend the erection of suitable Lock-up-houses at Llantrisant and Caerphilly - the present Cells at those places are the worst possible description. Llandaff being in the vicinity of Cardiff would not require a Lock-up-house.


I propose making Bridgend the Station for this District and the residence of the Superintendant.

By placing myself at Cowbridge, I consider that the duty of this extensive district would be more effectively performed. The smallness of the Force allotted to this district precludes my filling up Stations where I think Constables could be placed with advantage. Bridgend being the central point, it is highly desirable that a good Station-House should be erected, I would suggest that the building should contain a residence for the Constable, with office for the Superintendant and four cells.

The Cells at Cowbridge will be available, but, it will be necessary to make some arrangement for warming them in winter. At Lantwit Major an additional Cell is required for which the present site affords ample facility at a trifling cost.


I think Pontardawe the most central part for the residence of the Superintendant. The Force allotted to this District, I consider small.

I have placed the Constables where crime is most to be apprehended; and to the apparent neglect of the Western Agricultural portion of the District, to which, I should have assigned another Constable had the number permitted. On visiting Ystradgunlais my attention was drawn to the Twrch Valley, where are located a considerable population, reported to be of lawless character.

I should suggest that an arrangement should be entered into with the Magistrates of the County of Brecon, in order that the whole Vale of the Twrch may be under the charge of the Constable stationed in that quarter - the Couty boundary affording facilities for the escape of delinquents. I would also submit that Sessions should be held alternately in Brecon amd Glamorgan, in the neighbourhood of Ystradgunlais.

The only Lock-up-houses in the District, are at Aberavon and Cwmavon, which have been erected by private subscription and I have no doubt would be given over for the purpose of the Force. With slight alteration, the above Lock-up-houses can be made available. I would recommend that a suitable Station-House be erected at Pontardawe.

I find that there is a Police Force established along the line of the Swansea Canal, who are paid by the Committee of Traders. I think it highly desirable that this Force should cooperate with the men under my charge and by so doing, a mutual advantage would be derived. I would recommend that Constables residing at Station Houses should pay rent, on a scale in proportion to their pay.

In the course of my tour, I endeavoured to ascertain whether any buildings could be rented, which might, at a small expence, be made available for Station House; I did not meet with any, which, in my opinion, could be rented with advantage to the County. It is of the utmost importance to the successful operation of the system, that good and efficient men should be appointed to the duties of the Constabulary and in order to enable me to select proper persons, I beg the favour of as much time being granted me as the County arrangement will permit.

I have the honour to be,
Your most obedient Servant,
C.F. Napier.

ORDERED, that such Report be received and printed, and that the Clerk of Peace give due Notice for the consideration thereof at the next Sessions.

That the Rules proposed at the adjourned Sessions for the said County, 11th August, 1841, for the Payment and Application of Fees, under the powers of the several Acts relating to the County Constabulary be adopted.

That a Police Rate of £800 be raised within the several Districts of the County for the purpose of the Police.

By the Court,
Clerk of the Peace.

Further Reading

1. The Pyle Inn ( website) -

Extract from Glamorgan Monmouth & Brecon Gazette & Merthyr Guardian - Sept 4, 1841
website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: National Library of Wales, 'Welsh Newspapers Online' (; People's Collection Wales (;

Pyle Inn advert
Charles Frederick Napier (1841-1867)
The Pyle Inn

KENFIG MARITIME HERITAGE - The Coast - Porthcawl Breakwater

Porthcawl Breakwater - an amazing piece of Victorian Engineering

The breakwater at Porthcawl harbour was built and completed c.1865 - it was originally constructed of a hollow wooden infrastructure and clad with block. To give some height and scale of the breakwater, Porthcawl Lighthoue stands at a height of 30 feet (9.144 metres) ontop of the breakwater itself. The Breakwater was engineered & designed to help protect Porthcawl harbour from the open sea.

Porthcawl Breakwater - nearing completion c.1865
Porthcawl Breakwater - March 2014
Porthcawl Breakwater - March 2014
Porthcawl Breakwater - March 2014
Porthcawl Breakwater - March 2014
Porthcawl Breakwater - March 2014

KENFIG HERITAGE - The War Years - Second World War

RAF Stormy Down (History of a Training Aerodrome)

RAF Stormy Down Hinterland
The Royal Air Force aerodrome on Stormy Down served a very important role in the training of both air and ground crews during the Second World War. The initial base was located at Stormy Down with a subsidiary Air-Sea Rescue Unit located in Porthcawl (Jennings Building, Porthcawl Harbour) - its Hinterland stretched from the river mouth at Ogmore-by-sea in the east to the Kenfig river mouth in the west.

RAF Stormy Down served the entire Kenfig and surrounding areas throughout WWII where the Kenfig Sands were used for training purposes for both air & ground manoeuvres and Porthcawl harbour as an Air-Sea Rescue facility.

The new Kenfig website will provide a comprehensive listing of the entire base and Hinterland of RAF Stormy Down to include the Training Ranges (Margam Air-to-Ground & Margam Air-Air)(Air-Air Tow Lines at Kenfig & Ogmore-by-Sea), Overspill Accommodation Sites at Porthcawl, Stormy Down Defences (North Eastern, Eastern & Southern Perimeter), Air Sea Rescue Marine Craft Unit (Porthcawl), as well as informaion on the Air Gunnery School & its association with 617 Squadron RAF 'Dambusters' operation 'Chastise' 1943.

The new Kenfig website will also provide loads of photographs, documents and reports on the once very important RAF base at Stormy Down that played a vital role in the training of both air and ground crews during WWII.

COMING SOON... RAF Stormy Down (History of a Training Aerodrome)

website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust/Welsh Government; Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services; National Library of Wales; British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC); Kenfig & Surrounding Communities;

RAF Stormy Down - Aerial photo 1946
RAF Stormy Down c.1940s
Air gunner training squad 36 at RAF Stormy Down
RAF Stormy Down aircrew checking a drogue
Luftwaffe aerial reconnaissance Photo 1941
Quadrant Tower at Margam Range

Kenfig Heritage - Community - Pubs, Inns & Alehouses

The Harbour Inn (Ye Pirates Club, The Square, Porthcawl)

A group of local landowners and businessmen obtained an Act of Parliament to construct a dock at Porthcawl in 1825. When works on the first dock started in Porthcawl in 1828 so did the arrival of the town's first public houses. Many of these were converted dwellings in the vicinity of the harbour which served the workers employed in the construction of the dock complex. One of the very first of these hostelries was the Harbour Inn. Porthcawl Docks prospered and became a leading exporter for the coal & iron industries. In 1928, the Pirate's Club was founded and still uses the old Harbour Inn premises.
The photo shows the Harbour Inn c.1890 (photo courtesy: Porthcawl Museum & History Society)

website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services; Ye Pirates Club, Porthcawl Museum & History Society

The Harbour Inn c.1890

KENFIG HERITAGE - Community - Entertainment

The Gaiety Cinema - Kenfig Hill (Opened 1913)

The Glamorgan Gazette of 12 September 1913 reported that the opening of the cinema marked a new era for Kenfig Hill amusement seekers. This building was to close as a cinema before re-opening as a DIY Store and later a 147 Snooker Hall. The building was eventually demolished for housing developments during the latter part of the 20th century / early part of the 21st century.

Gaiety Cinema, Kenfig Hill - Programme May 1919, the cinema queues & cinema staff

KENFIG HERITAGE - The War Years - First World War

The First World War around Kenfig in Photographs

A new section of photographs depicting the life and times of the Kenfig and surrounding area before, during and after the Great War 1914-1918 will be integrated into the Pictorial History section of the new Kenfig website over the coming months.

PICTORIAL HISTORY: Kenfig & Surrounding Areas

Porthcawl Camp - August 1908
King's Shropshire Light Infantry - Porthcawl, 1913


33 Years in Same School - Cornelly Schoolmaster Retires

After 33 years as headmaster of the Cornelly mixed schools, Mr Thomas Penhale has tendered his resignation to the managers of the Bridgend Group of Schools.

Mr Penhale was born in 1845 in Crowan near Camborne, Cornwall. After a five years' apprenticeship as pupil teacher in his native village he was successful in obtaining an assistantship at Llanidloes National Schools in 1865. At the end of the following year he became assistant at Bryndu School, Kenfig Hill.

He remained here for three years and then proceeded to the Llanddarog National School near Carmarthen as headmaster. Four years later he became headmaster of the Llangennech National Schools and during a stay of five years in which he worked very hard, he was successful in raising the standard of efficiency to such a pitch as to merit special mention in the Education Blue Books as one of the best in the country.

In 1877 Mr and Mrs Penhale were appointed master and mistress respectively of the Cornelly Mixed Schools and this position Mr Penhale has held ever since. Mrs Penhale resigned soon after her appointment owing to failing health. Soon after settling in the parish Mr Penhale took an active interest in public affairs. He was elected a member of the first Parish Council in 1894 and with only one break has kept the position, acting as the Council's chairman.

Mr Penhale has represented the parish of Pyle on the Penybont Rural District Council and Board of Guardians. He has paid much attention to the educational and other endowments of the parish and it is mainly through his efforts the Board of Education formulated the scheme wherby the funds of the Morgan's Educational Foundation have been utilised in providing scholarships for the children of Pyle and Kenfig at the Bridgend County School.

On retirement Mr Penhale intends residing at Porthcawl.

Extract from: Cardiff Times & South Wales Weekly News - 4 June 1910
website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: National Library of Wales, 'Welsh Newspapers Online' (

Cornelly Council School, Group III, c.1915
Cornelly School, September 1928
Corneli Council School c.1915


Interactive Books, Journals & Periodicals

A brand new section on the brand new Kenfig website provides an online interactive "Flip-Book" system showcasing important booklets, documents & journals associated with the history of the Kenfig and surrounding areas. We start this new section with a booklet 1st published in 1982 solely for Cornelly residents: Kenfig - Anthology of Kenfig District, 1982 by Mr Arthur Smith.

This booklet was published by the Kenfig Press of Arthur Smith at Heol Fach, North Cornelly & was a tribute to his grandfather who was the 1st Kenfig Councillor to be Chairman of Penybont Rural District Council & who was made a J.P. (Justice of the Peace) in the Coronation Year of 1937. There were only around 200 of these booklets ever produced - all in private hands. There are 57 pages in this online Interactive Book. This is a digital "Flip-Book" with a zoom-in facility...

Interactive Books: Kenfig - Anthology of Kenfig District, 1982 by Mr Arthur Smith

Kenfig - Anthology of Kenfig District - 1982
Kenfig - Anthology of Kenfig District - 1982
Kenfig - Anthology of Kenfig District - 1982

website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: Kenfig - Anthology of Kenfig District, edited & published by Arthur Smith, 1982 - Private Ownership.


British Prime Minister visits Kenfig Area - April 1924

Labour Politician, M.P. for Aberavon & Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald visited Cefn Cribbwr on 28th April 1924.

Prime Minister visits Cefn Cribbwr

Labour Politician, M.P. for Aberavon & Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald visited Cefn Cribbwr on 28th April 1924 a matter of 16 days after the Miners' Welfare Hall was opened on 12th April 1924 - he also spoke at the Miners' Welfare Hall in Cefn Cribbwr in the closing weeks of the General Strike of 1926.

The Miners' Welfare hall, known locally as the "Green Hall" was originally conceived and supported by colliery owners & colliers and was opened in 1924. It is used nowadays as a community centre. Many political meetings were held there over the years.
Photo: Local Choir, the Kenfig Hill Orpheus Glee Society including former Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald & his daughter Isabel Macdonald 1924

Back Row: J.H. Hadley, W.E.John, G.Tucker, E.John, W.Wales, W.G.E.Davies, E.John, E.Browning, D.Dodd, E.Harmon, G.Coles
Middle Row: H.Simon, J.Francis, A.James, W.Cobley, D.Parry, T.Cottrell, J.Williams, D.Jones, H.Hicks, J.J.Cobley, D.John, W.Roberts, E.J.Wilkins, W.R.Jones, F.Stevens
Front Row: Mr J.Woolley, E.L.Harding (Assistant Sec.), F.Wilcox (Hon.Sec.), T.Bevan (Chairman), Miss Isabel MacDonald, Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald, Coun.J.Brown, J.Pugh (Conductor), T.Roberts (Hon. Treas), D.Suitor, Mr T.Mitchill

Further Reading

Public Administration, The Gerneral Strike & Cefn Cribwr

website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: Bridgend Library & Information Services; Cefn Cribwr Chronicle of a Village, Neville Granville, 1980; Wikipedia -

Kenfig Heritage - Community - Pubs, Inns & Alehouses

The Cornelly Arms, North Cornelly (closed May 2014)

This public house located in North Cornelly closed its doors in May 2014 after being privately purchased from a brewery. In it's present state (as of 26 February 2016) it remains empty and boarded up with no certainty of re-opening for business nor for private residence. There maybe a legal covenant on the deeds of the Cornelly Arms property stating that if it is demolished any new building has to be re-built on the extisting foundations of the present building.

Here's a little background history about the Cornelly Arms being a lodge of the Philanthropic Order of True Ivorites Society during the 19th century and its possible association with the father and son responsible for the Welsh National Anthem. It appears quite ironic that the name of the Cornelly Arms Lodge was named "Ap Iago Lodge" which happens to be same as the bardic name used by both father & son responsible for the National Anthem themselves.

Background Heritage

During the latter part of the 19th century, the Cornelly Arms was a lodge (Ap Iago Lodge) of the Philanthropic Order of True Ivorites Society in Cornelly.

Central Glamorgan Gazette - Ivorites Anniversary

On Saturday the 23rd, inst, the Llewwellyn ap Ivor Lodge of the True Ivorites held their anniversary at the Prince of Wales.

The members met at their lodge room at half past three in the afternoon and forming in a procession started out at four o'clock and marched to Cornelly, on their way down visiting a monument at Cornelly Chapel which the Llewellyn ap Ivor Lodge had put up in commemoration of their late secretary, Mr Issac Williams.

The procession then visited the lodge room of the Ap Iago Lodge at the Cornelly Arms, when Mr J. Jenkins and Mr J. Thomas were voted to the chair.

Several addressed were delivered by the members including a poetical address by cynfflgwyson. After each one had partaken of a glass of "cwrw da" the procession marched up to the lodge room at the Prince of Wales where an excellent supper was ready on the table.

(the above is reproduced from a newspaper article dated 29 August 1873)

Cornelly Arms - Tuesday 19 May 2015

Cornelly Arms - Friday 26 Feb 2016

The Philanthropic Order of True Ivorites

Referred to as the Ivorites Society or The Ivorites was a friendly society founded in Wrexham in 1836.

Kenfig and Cornelly had lodges of the Ivorites which were held at the Prince of Wales, Kenfig (Llewwellyn ap Ivor Lodge) & the Cornelly Arms (Ap Iago Lodge) respectively.

This friendly society conducted its business exclusively in Welsh. As well as helping the poor the order promoted the Welsh Language through organising local Eistedfoddau.

The Laws & Regulations of the order were published in 1839 and states that the True Ivorites Society is an institution to encourage the Welsh language and to preserve its members as far as possible from want.

The Ivorites, along with fellow society the Oddfellows, were especially strong in Glamorgan and survived well into the 20th century. The societies were often a substitute for Trade Unions but were never a threat to the Union's existence (the Unions grew out of the activities of the Friendly Societies).

The Ivorites was not a secret society but did have its own handsigns & handshakes.

The Welsh National Anthem

Evan James (1809-1878) also known by the bardic name "Ieuan ap Iago" was famous for writing the lyrics of Hen Wlad fy Nhadau, the national anthem of Wales. The music was written by his son, James James (Iago ap Ieuan).

Evan James was himself involved with the Ivorite Society at Pontypridd Gorsedd (meeting of the bards) which was first organised by Edward Williams (bardic name: Iolo Morgannwg).

Evan James (1809-1878)

Evan James was a modest tradesman living in Pontypridd during the mid 19th century. He was born in Caerphilly in 1809, a weaver by trade who would spend his spare time reading literature and composing simple poetry.

From a young age he showed an interest in music and was fond of the harp.

Evan went under the bardic name of Ieuan ap Iago.

Ivorites Society - Pennsylvania, US

To honour Welsh-Americans in the tradition of the Welsh Ivorite Society History and purpose of the order.

Further Reading

website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: Bridgend Library & Information Services; What the Papers Said No.3 - Extracts from Central Glamorgan Gazette 1873-1874, Dennis Jones; The Philanthropic Order of True Ivorites (Wikipedia); Booklet of True Ivorites Signs & Grips of the Order (Welsh Govt - Peoples' Collection Wales); Thomas Robert Jones (Gwerfulyn 1802-1856) (National Library of Wales); Evan James (1809-1878) (Wikipedia); Evan James (1809-1878) (National Library of Wales); Edward Williams (1747-1826) (National Library of Wales); Ivorite song to tune of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Teifidancer Blog); US (National Welsh-American Foundation Archives).


A new Section will be introduced into Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) for many reasons over the coming months entitled "History of the Vale of Glamorgan" here is a brief example of what's in store...

History of the Vale of Glamorgan

The Landed Gentry: The Merthyr Mawr Estate

Merthyrmawr House (Its fine situation, history & associations)

Within a few miles radius of the thriving market town of Bridgend there are many notable mansions and places of interest to the antiquary, historian and tourist. Among these may be noted Merthyrmawr, the home of Mr John Iltyd Dillwyn Nicholl, D.L., J.P. The mansion occupies a finely diversified situation a couple of miles south-west of Bridgend in the centre of one of the most engrossing sites of Morganwg.

Perhaps it would be somewhat difficult to find in the whole county of Glamorgan a district which presents such a number of varied attractions as that of which Merthyrmawr is the centre. Its antiquarian interests are legion and the varied scenery includes bracing uplands, wooded slopes, smiling fields, picturesque rivers, and sand dunes; and near by is a charming, romantic coastline. To the botanist or lover of plants, it is remarkable for the variety of its flora, and to the zoologist its fannu is a source of continual fascinating interest and delight.

Let us pause for a moment its interesting antiquarian features. Only about a mile distant across the sandhills you may find, in the shape of stone hammers and arrow heads, bronze daggers and other various implements, old relics of the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, representing the ancient past. There are also Cromlechs which had probably been standing there about a thousand years when Rome was founded. Just below, on the sandhills near Candleston Castle (now in ruins) have been found several Roman coins, which are conclusive evidence of the Roman occupation ages ago.

Within the ancient Parish Churchyard at Merthymawr are some early Christian crosses, dating back to the fifth century and just behind Merthyrmawr mansion, on the little wooded knoll or hill, there stands a small group of very ancient crosses, of which the largest, called the Great Goblin Stone, is said to be of seventh century origin. Near the banks of the Ogmore River may be seen the ruins of Ogmore Castle, which Sir William de Londres erected in Norman times and only just a long mile away across the pretty valley is Ewenny Priory, which was founded by Maurice de Londres, who lies buried in the south trancept of the ancient Abbey at Ewweny.

Candleston Castle (in ruins), which is only about a mile away, on the verge of civilisation where the verdant and fertile fields and the huge sandhills meet, dates from the latter part of the 14th century or early 15th century and post-medieval relics include the fishing weirs on the Ewenny river; and in the Parish Churchyard at Merthyrmawr is an ancient sun-dial, which formerly occupied a position over the south porch of the old village church, with its Latin inscription: "Transit hora sine mora," and bears the inscribed date, A.D. 1720.

Finally, there is the present stately mansion of Merthyrmawr, which was erected in the year 1804, which forms the subject of the present article. Few districts in the county of Glamorgan, or in the Principality of Wales can probably produce such a fine and wonderful sequence of archaeological relics and every one of those enumerated is within a radius of about a mile and a half from the mansion at Merthyrmawr.

And, again, to these interests must be added the romance which the old folk-tales and traditions have cast over the surrounding district ages ago. It is interesting to note that about a century ago the great massive Goblin Stone was drawn in Car-llys, pulled by six oxen, from its old site or position where it had lain for centuries in the Cae'r Groes and placed in its present position in the picturesque grounds of Merthyrmawr House.

There are still a few old inhabitants at Merthyrmawr village and district who have heard from their parents fireside tales of "the fearsome goblings" which over nights used to haunt the field at Cae'r Groes, in which the Goblin Stone formerly stood before its removal. With so many memorials of ancient days attracting the eye and facing one at every turn, we cannot be surprised or think it strange, indeed, if such superstitious fairy tales did survive, as the very atmosphere is suggestive and redolent of old time.

Then, again, there are the wonders of nature all around, which arouse in the dweller of active mind a sense of the mysterious. For instance, there are the numerous caverns in mountain limestone outcrop - vast chasms or wide openings, in which you may hear the rushing water dashing far below you and the silent but relentless in-roads of the sand around the mouth of the Ogmore River pressing onward, ever onward, covering trees and dwelling houses in its destructive course in the wake of time.

Further Reading
Sir John Nicholl (1759-1838) (Wikipedia) -

the above is reproduced from a newspaper article dated October 1914
website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: National Library of Wales, 'Welsh Newspapers Online' (; Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services.


Proceeding from Bridgend, the roadway runs parallel to the Ogmore river and on the eastern side. it is an easy, gentle gradient until you arrive at the cross-roads, where a sharp turn to the right takes you down a steep descent on the road leading you to the old New Inn Bridge, of which more anon.

Just over the bridge, on the left-hand, is the Lodge gate and proceeding from here a pretty drive, half a mile in length, skirts the right bank of the Ogmore River and gradually winds up the hill between the stately trees to the mansion which is magnificently situated on the south-eastern slope of the hill and commanding a fine, magnificent view across the Ogmore and Ewennt rivers with the hills, etc., beyond in the distance.

The mansion is beautifully set about three hundred yards up on the hillside above the roadway leading from Bridgend to Merthyrmawr Village and Candleston Castle and is backed with luxurious plantations of trees. Although the mansion was designed in an age which was not famed for architectural grace or beauty, it would be idle to deny that its external appearance is adapted and suited to its position. As seen from the roadway below, it at once conveys the idea of solidity, cosiness and comfort rather than that of elegance but the pretty shaded creepers which cover andadorn much of its main front and its delicious surrounding sylvan scenery, help to soften its outline and create a most pleasing effect to the eye.


Before speaking further of the present mansion, let us digress for a few moments and have a peep into the past history of Merthyrmawr. From Leland's "Itinerary in Wales," about A.D. 1530-36, I quote the following particulars: "Merthyrmawr, Mr Stradling's place, is a fair manor place of stone. It standith on the west side, ripe about a mile above Ogmore river mouth."


Most of the land, if not all, now comprised by the Merthyrmawr Estate was for some centuries in the possession of the celebrated Stradling family, St. Donat's Castle; but we find that in 1738 Sir Thomas Stradling, of St.Donat's Castle, the last of the Stradlings, was killed in a duel at Montpelier, France and left no heir or issue. Subsequently, after a long series of law suits, the estates were ultimately divided by an Act of Parliament between the families of Tyrrwhitt, Drake, Mansel and Bowen.

To the Bowen family fell Monknash and Merthyrmawr Estates and we shall presently perceive how and when the estate passed to the Nicholl family. Merthyrmawr Estate, comprising nearly 5,000 acres of land, passed by purchase into the hands of the Right Hon. John Nicholl more than a century ago; or, to be precise, it should be stated that the purchase was completed just before 1804 and previous to that period the mansion or manor house stood on the site now occupied by the Home Farmhouse, near the village of Merthyrmawr.

Eventually, Sir John Nicholl, finding the old "Stradling-Bowen" mansion not congenial and suited to his own particular requirements, built the present fine and spacious mansion, which today is the home of his great-grandson, Mr John I.D. Nicholl, J.P. A few facts now concerning the family of the present owner will be of interest.

The Nicholl family were seated for several generations at Llantwit Major and we find that that as far back as the reign of Henry VIII (1509-1547), one Iltyd Nicholl was a chirugeon. The old home of the Nicholl family was at the Great House, Llantwit Major which is still standing toady in a fair state of preservation and later we find that several braches of the Nicholl family established their homes at The Ham, Llantwit Major and also at Llanmaes House, in the village of Llanmaes. The Nicholl family of Merthyrmawr were an off-shoot or branch of the Nicholl family at The Ham, Llantwit Major.

The Right Hon. Sir John Nicholl, D.C.L., M.P., was a son of Mr John Nicholl who was the third son of Mr Iltyd Nicholl of The Ham, Llantwit Major. Sir John Nicholl was born at Llanmaes House, 16th March 1759 and lived to see the ascension of Queen Victoria to the Throne of England, 22nd June 1837. He was a very distinguished, learned man and was dean of the Arches and Judge of the Prerogative Court. After his death he was succeeded by his son and heir, the Right Hon. John Nicholl, M.P., who represented Cardiff in the Conservative interest from 13th December, 1832 to July 1852 when he was defeated by the late Mr Walter Coffin, his Liberal opponent, by 26 votes.

Sir John Nicholl was appointed Judge Advocate General in the year 1841. He married a Miss Talbot of Margam park and by her had a family of six children of whom the eldest son and heir, Mr John Cole Nicholl, succeeded to the Merthyrmawr Estates on the death of his father in the year 1853.

Merthyrmawr House - To Be Continued...

NOTE: The First World War around Kenfig documents the history of the area at that point in time; the Nicholl family were involved with public administration, namely: The Penybont Rural District Council during this time, therefore a background history of the Nicholl family & Merthyrmawr is to be included.


Virtual Library of Clairvaux (National Library of France)

Founded in 1147 by Robert, Earl of Gloucester, Margam Abbey was a Cistercian Abbey of the Mother House Clairvaux - its dissolution came about in 1536 and was the first abbey to fall under the Dissolution of the Monastries by King Henry VIII. As Margam Abbey was a Cistercian Abbey of the Mother House Clairvaux & thanks to the National Library of France, Paris - The Virtual Library of Clairvaux (with its 1,150 manuscripts) has been made available online to view. This should provide an in invaluable online resource for writers & researchers on the history of the monastic life of Clairvaux in France and its connections with Margam Abbey and in-directly the Kenfig & surrounding areas.

Library of Clairvaux

With a remaining collection of 1450 manuscripts to which are added 400 incunabula & printed documents dating from the 15th century, the collection from Clairvaux is the 1st known French Medieval collection. The Abbey of Clairvaux was established in 1115 AD by Bernard de Fontaines. The abbot of Citeaux entrusted Bernard with the mission to establish a new abbey - he settled in the valley of Absinthe on the left side of the river Aube. New buildings were built to welcome more numerous novices and this place became a well-known monastic centre of the Christendom. By the end of the Middle Ages, another 530 other abbeys were established all over Europe.

From the initial foundation of the abbey, books are omnipresent as monastic life was not possible without them. The minimum required for a foundation was to own the liturgical books as well as the Rules of Saint Benoit. From 1140 AD the library of Clairvaux became a rich place which held the attention of men of letters in search or rare texts. By the end of the 12th century the library had a number of volumes of between 300 & 350 items. The classification by Unesco recognizes the international interest & the exceptional worldwide character of the preserved collection.

Virtual Library of Clairvaux (National Library of France) -

Margam Abbey Illustrations
Virtual Library of Clairvaux
Virtual Library of Clairvaux


Sketches of Old Kenfig & District - by O C Trinder

A full catelogue of sketches by Mr O C Trinder will be included in our Pictorial History section
Sketch of Maudlam by O.C.Trinder
Sketch of Capel y Pil by O.C.Trinder
Sketch of Cornelly Cross by O.C.Trinder


Old Newspaper Articles - South Wales Daily News (April 11, 1878)

The Charge of Murder at Kenfig Hill

Trial of two men for death of watchman at Bryndu Works, Kenfig Hill in 1878

Sentence of 20 years' Penal Servitude

At the Glamorgan Assizes on Wednesday before Justice Mellor, Thomas Morris, 22, collier; David Evans, 22, collier; Lewis Thomas, 18, tin worker were indicted for that they feloniousy, wilfully and of malice aforethought did kill and murder Morgan Evans at Kenfig Hill on the 12th February.

Mr Allen and Mr Franklin appeared for the prosecution.

Mr Bowen Rowlands (instructed by Mr Howell Thomas) and Mr Abel Thomas appeared for Lewis Thomas; the prisoners Morris and Evans being defended by Mr Brynmor Jones.

In opening the case Mr Allen put the circumstances thereof before the jury.

About three o'clock on Sunday, the day in question, the deceased, who was the watchman and overlooker at the Bryndu works and 61 years of age, went to the coke ovens and in the course of ten minutes or a quarter of an hour he received mortal injuries. The prisoners, at the time, were seen in the field close by with dogs and men were directed by Mr Daniels, the manager of the works to pursue tem.

The engineman saw them pass and heard Lewis Thomas say to David Evans, in Welsh, "That was a devil of a slip." Immediately afterwards the deceased came from the direction of the coke ovens. He was bleeding profusely from wounds in the head; he pointed to two men in the field and David Thomas, with a man named Heatley ran after them a distance of 700 or 800 yards. The men were Thomas Morris and David Evans.

Asked what they had been doing to the deceased, they said, "What the devil odds is it to you. We will serve you the same." David Evans pulled a knife from his pocket, gave it to Morris and told him to "rip their guts out."

Deceased told people that he had been badly beated by three men and kicked in the side.

Before he was attacked, the three prisoners were seen together in the Crown public house.

They were apprehended by Police constable Rees, who also apprehended David Davies, a collier, aged 22, but the grand jury threw out the bill against him. Lewis Thomas afterwards told Sergeant Lewis that he did not beat the deceased but that it was Evans and Morris. David Evans said, "We gave the old man a bit of a thrashing, but I did not think he would die." Morris also said that he struck him a blow or two, but he (the deceased) gave him a blow first and that was how the row begun.

David Davies deposed that he saw the deceased go in the direction of the coke ovens and soon after he heard him crying out "murder."

He went to the spot and saw the prisoner David Evans in the act of throwing a piece of coke, which struck him on the head. He also threw a half brick at him, which struck him on the side, jumped before the old man and made fun of him. Blood was running down the face of the deceased who made his way to the side of the ovens. David Evans followed him, rose his stick and struck him across the shoulders. He then turned round and with his stick tried to keep Evans off.

The latter, however, rushed at him, threw him down on the ground and beat him severly. Thomas Morris also beat him as he lay there.

While this was going on Thomas held the dogs which prisoners had with them and witness did not see him strike the deceased. Afterwards Evans said to the deceased, "Behave, you old b-----, or else you shall have more."

Bryndu (Cefn) Iron Works c.1900
Asked by the judge why he did not interfere the witness said he did not think anything serious would follow.

His Lordship: All that I can say is that your conduct was very disgraceful.

Witness, continuing said the prisoners left the deceased lying on the ground. He tried to get up but at first he was only able to rise on his knees and then fell back helpless. In the course of a few minutes he got better and proceeded to walk towards home but he rested several times on the way owing to his exhausted condition.

Cross-examined by Mr Abel Thomas, witness said he believed that if the prisoner Thomas had not held the two dogs they would have attacked the deceased and, in reply to Mr Jones, he said he thought it was only a fight between the two prisoners and the deceased. Drs J.C. Pritchard and Llewellyn gave evidence as to the wounds on the head and face of deceased. One of the ribs was fractured and this resulted in injury to the lungs causing difficulty in breathing.

On the conclusion of the case for the prosection, his Lordship expressed an opinion that there was no case as against Thomas to go to the jury. The other witnesses called for the prosection were Mary Evans, Richard Evans, son of the deceased, Benjamin Daniels, manager of the Bryndu Works, John Davies, engineman, David Thomas, David Lewis and David Davies.

No witnesses were called for the defence.

Mr B. Jones then addressed the jury on behalf of Evans and Morris.

He pointed to the absence of deliberation, of concerted action, or malice towards the deceased on the part of the accused and in the absence of any motive, he thought the jury would consider long before finding a verdict of murder against these two men. He asked them to dismiss from their minds that which Mr Allen had mentioned regarding the deceased having previously given evidence against a relation of one of the accused.

In all probability there was provocation given and therefore he contended that the crime was reduced to one of manslaughter.

The Judge having elaborately summed up and complimented Mr B. Jones on his address. The jury retired and after consulting for three quarters of an hour, returned with a verdict of manslaughter against Morris and Evans, Thomas was found not guilty.

His Lordship, addressing the prisoners said they had been convicted upon evidence of the most conclusive and satisfactory character, of the crime of manslaughter.

He throughly agreed with the finding of the jury and he did not think he should be doing his duty in a case where it was clearly proved that two men wantonly and brutally attacked an old man of 61 if he did not pass such a sentence as would deter other violent and heedless persons as the prisoners from similar crimes.

The sentence he would pass upon them, therefore would be 20 years' penal servitude.

Thomas was discharged.

website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: National Library of Wales, 'Welsh Newspapers Online' (


Kenfig & Surrounding Areas

The new pictorial history section is currently under development & will be available to view shortly

Kenfig Community Heritage

Notable People from the Area - Hall of Fame

Mr William FosterJohn, Kenfig Hill (1864-1935)

The following is a story of a Kenfig Hill man who became the Second Manager & Sub-Missionary of the Buenos Aires Sailors' Home and Mission in South America in 1894. There's also a brief background of this British Institution that was founded in 1885 along with a truly remarkable story of the gentleman's life kindly provided by his Great Grandson, Mr Andy FosterJohn of Kenfig Hill.

Success of a Kenfig Hill boy in South America

Mr Foster John of Kenfig Hill, who went out to Argentine four years ago has been appointed Manager and Sub-Missionary of the Buenos Ayres Sailors' Home and Mission out of a large number of applicants.

This has necessitated Mr John's departure from Campania where he has taken an active part in Band of Hope and Sunday School Work and at a recent concert there, occasion was taken to make him a presentation.

The Buenos Ayres Herald gives the following account of the event: A pleasant break was here made in the programme by the President, Mr H. Martin who said that he availed himself of that opportunity to introduce an unrehearsed piece, a piece in which they were all interested, and one to which they were looking forward - but the person most interested in it was entirely ignorant.

The piece he referred to was the leather writing case which they saw he was carrying in his hand and the person was Mr Wm. Foster John whom he was glad to see amongst them once more, though it was only for two days.

He was glad of this opportunity of publicly presenting him with a small token of the affection and esteem in which he had always been held by them during the four years in which he had been associated with them in Campania before he was called away to take the management of the Sailors' Home, Buenos Ayres.

Mr Martin then read a short address to Mr Foster John, concluding by calling upon him to come forward and accept the gift in the name of the Campania Band of Hope and Sunday School.

Mr Foster John though taken completely by surprise by this to him, unexpected mark of esteem from his Campania friends, stepped upon the platform and replied in a few appropriate and well turned sentences, at the conclusion of which he was heartily applauded.

Extract from: Glamorgan Gazette - Friday April 27, 1894

The Buenos Ayres Sailors' Home & Harbour Mission

Habitated in the Victoria Sailors' Home was like many other British Institutions - The Buenos Aryes Sailors' Home had its origin in 'small things'.
Antiguo Hôtel de Inmigrantes–Buenos Aires, c. 1900

In 1885, a small group of religious men started a regular Sunday afternoon service for the seamen whose ships were lying in the Boca. A few years later, Mr James McGowan began an agitation through the English press for something more tangible.

As a result of the interst aroused, the Revs. J.W. Fleming, Pelham Ogle, and J.H. Stockton met at the home of the last-named gentleman to see what could be done.

It was resolved, that as Mr Fleming was about to leave on vacation, he should visit the Rev. E.W. Mathhews, of the British and Foreign Sailors' Friendly Society of London, and lay the facts before the society. The result of this was a visit to this city by Mr Matthews. Many of the senior businessmen still remember how this white-haired veteran hustled round the city pleading the cause of the sailors.

At the instigation of Mr Matthews, a public meeting was called on Friday June 2nd at the La France Hall.

The chair was taken by H.B.M. Minister the Hon. Francis Pakenham. At that meeting the first Sailors' Home Committee was appointed which consisted of the following gentlemen: Mr T.S. Boadle, Chairman; Rev. J.W. Fleming, Secretary; Don Juan Drysdale, Treasurer; Revs. Pelham Ogle, J.H. Stockton; Messrs. Ronald Bridgett, H.B.M. Consul; S.A. Christopherson, Swedish & Norwegian Consul; P. Christopherson, Danish Consul; E.L. Baker, USA Consul; C. Ferrio, German Consul; L.Van Riet, Dutch Minister; C. Marriott VVoodgate and W. Higgins.

This committee issued an appeal for funds with the result that $491.42 gold and $17,200.65 paper was raised.

This encouraged, the Committee rented premises situated in Calle Pedro Mendoz.i, corner of La Madrid, in the Boca, and on Monday January 26th 1891, opened to the seamen of the world the international, interdenominational Buenos Aires Sailors' Home.

At the opening ceremony Mr T.S. Boadle presided, the Rev. J.W. Fleming read the committee's report and Mr E.E. Cordner moved the adoption of the same.

The first Missionary-Manager of the Home was Mr P.J. Walker who served till 1893, when Mr Foster John took charge.

He was followed by Mr G. Chamberlain in 1898 who resigned in 1901 when Mr Henry F. Fellows was appointed.

From the foundation of the work the Committee had always seen the absolute necessity of possessing their own building. In 1895 they petitioned Congress for land on which to build. Owing chiefly to the work of Rear-Admiral Howard and Seftor Ricardo Pillado, the Sailors' Home Land Committee and the earnes advocating through the press of Mr E.T. Mulhall, the land on which the Victoria Sailors' Home now stands was granted. In the whole stretch of shipping a more suitable spot could not be found.

The year 1897 was the most fruitful on record for philanthropic work. In that year illustrious Victoria completed her sixieth year as Queen. The Britishers of the River Plate met to discuss how that year could be perpetuated.

At an adjourned meeting held at Prince George's Hall on May 6th the following resolution was unanimously agreed to: "That as a permanent memorial of the auspicious event, a Sailors' Home for the Port of Beunos Aires be built."

A committee was appointed to carry out this resolution consisting of the following gentlemen:The Hon. W.A.C. Barrington (Sir W.A.C. Barrington, K.C.M.G); Rev. J.W. Fleming, B.D.; Messrs A. Mackintosh, J.C. Zimmerman, R.O. Watson, J.F. Roberts, T.S. Boadle.

To this number were added at different times: Messrs R. Inglis Runciman, H.C. Thompson, John Russell, T.M. Mills, Wm Mulhall, Juan Drysdale, Wm Warden, John Dunn, Patrick Ham, Ronald Bridgett, F. Barrow, C.W. Mills and E.A. Merry.

Although it was five years from the above date the Victoria Home was opened to Sailors, the Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer Sir W.A.C. Barrington, Rev. J.W. Fleming and Mr R. Inglis Runciman respectively retained their position untl they had the pleasure of seeing their work successfully accomplished.

The building as it now stands cost some $80,000. It was opened by President Roca on April 16th 1902.

Not the least interesting part of the programme being the unveiling of a magnificent portrait of Her Majesty, the late Queen Victoria, a gift from Her Majesty to the Victoria Sailors' Home through the British and Foreign Sailors' Friend Society.

Needless to say, since the opening of the new building the work of the B.A. Sailors' Home and Mission has increased tenfold. Concerts and Socials which are now so popular with the Seamen, originated with the new Home. Every night since its opening the bed-space has been taxed to the utmost. The number of Seamen who have boarded there until a berth has been procured has considerably increased. The religious side of the work has also benefited.

To such an extent is this the case that it is doubtful if a better attended or heartier English Service could be found in the City than the Sunday Evening Service at the Home. The Home publication, Fore and Aft, a readible, chatty paper of 20 pages, performs a useful mission. The annual Seamen's Picnic is a great feature.

Last New Year's day no less than 1400 Seamen spent the whole day in the country. The following figures give some idea of the work of the Home. Since the Home was founded until May 1st 1909, some 17,000 men have entered as paying boarders. For the vast majority of these employment has been found.

Since the inauguration of the present Home 48,000 free meals and 13,600 free beds have been given to aged and decent Seamen. The Home is visited by some 2000 Seamen every month. Thousands of books are collected and distributed.

Yet withal the Home is still able to carry out the ideal of the present Management, that any genuine Seaman of any Nationality or Creed in need of a helping hand will most surely find one, at any hour of the day or night.

The address of the Sailors' Home or to give its official name, "The Buenos Aires Sailors' Home and Mission" is called Independencia 20, between Docks 1 & 2.

Source: Internet Archive, San Francisco, US
Image Courtesy: Jeremy Howat, British Settlers in Argentina & Uruguay -

Further Reading
The Misson to Seafarers -

William John:
Kenfig Hill Boy Goes To South America.

My Great Grandfather, was born William John, in Kenfig Hill in 1864 and died William Fosterjohn in Nottingham in 1935. He had a few adventures in between, not least, changing his surname.
William Fosterjohn, seated right, arms folded

William was born in Kenfig Hill, in the parish of Tythgeston on 16th September 1864, to parents William and Catherine John, both born in Pyle. William John senior was a grocer and draper, and Senior Deacon of the Moriah Calvanistic Methodist Chapel in Kenfig Hill. Catherine's maiden name was also John.

Queen Victoria was on the throne, the American Civil War was in full flow, and overarm bowling had just been legalized in cricket.

A sixteen year old William John junior was listed in the 1881 census as a pupil teacher, and went on to become a school teacher, his last known appointment being at Glyncorrwg, where he lodged with his elder sister, Jane and her husband, at number 1, Cavell Street.

The 1881 census also shows that William had at least four siblings; Jane, Evan, Mary and Jenkin.

As a young man, William fell out with his Father, either over religion, or his further education, and subsequently emigrated to South America at the age of 25, with the intention of becoming a missionary among the indigenous tribes. The passenger list of the ship he sailed on in 1890, listed his occupation as a farmer, rather than teacher.

Initially, as reported in the Glamorgan Gazette, he worked for the Campania Band of Hope and Sunday School. The Band of Hope was a Methodist temperance organisation, devoted to teaching children and young people the 'evils of drink.' Campana was a small port town, north west of Buenos Aires, and in the early 1890s would have been a fairly rough and ready place. Campania was a region in Italy, which which many of the original inhabitants of the town came.

He then moved to Buenos Aires and in 1893 found work as a Missionary-Manager at the Seaman's Mission, where he stayed for five years. In Buenos Aires he met and married Daisy Gibbs, whose family had emigrated to Argentina from Southampton. They married at St. Andrew’s Scots Presbyterian Church in September 1894 and lived at The Seaman's Mission, 791 Pedro Mendoza, Boca, Buenos Aires. This was right on the dockside, and would have been a busy and bustling place at that time. It's now a six lane highway.

The Glamorgan Gazette of April 1894, refers to William as Mr Foster John. When he got married in September of that year, his name was listed as William Fosterjohn. The report on the setting up of the Seaman's Mission during the 1880s and 1890s, in Mitchell's Standard Guide to Buenos Aires, published in 1909, also lists him as Mr Fosterjohn.

Their first child was born in Buenos Aires, but in 1898 the family moved to neighbouring Paraguay, where they had three more children, including my Dad's Father Cyril. My Dad always told my brother and I that we were eligible to play football for Paraguay. In Paraguay William Fosterjohn worked as a missionary with the indigenous Lengua peoples, of the Chaco region, but also acquired a large cattle ranch or estancia, with over 5,000 head of cattle.

In due course it was decided that the growing family should return to England, in order that the children could receive an education, as there was little in the way of educational facilities in Paraguay at that time. The ranch was sold, realising a considerable sum of money. The family returned to England on the TSS Rimutaka, from New Zealand, embarking from Montevideo, and landing in Plymouth in September 1903.

Initially the family settled in Plymouth, where one of Daisy's sisters, Clara, ran a hotel, and the family lodged there for a while, whilst William sought business opportunities back in England. A fifth child born here died in infancy.

The Plymouth Museum has nearly 600 items from Central and South America, of which the 50-plus objects collected by William Fosterjohn, from the Lengua people of Paraguay between 1899 and 1903 are deemed to be of 'major importance', and are referred to as 'The William Fosterjohn Collection.'

Relatives state that William was eager to get into business at the earliest possible opportunity, and against the advice of his brother in law, he then invested most of his capital in a laundry business in Derby, to where the family moved. Another child was born in Derby, but unfortunately the laundry did so badly that within a few years the bulk of the family fortune was lost, and William had to sell up and move to Nottingham.

A newspaper business was established close to Nottingham City Centre, and after another false start, and a change of premises, this did eventually flourish, and remained in the family for many decades. Eventually it was taken over by Herbert George Fosterjohn, one of William's sons, and my Dad's Uncle George, who carried on the business until retirement.

n addition to the newspaper shop William Fosterjohn found employment with Boots the Chemist and subsequently was in change of the postal department at Station Street, Boots' Nottingham head office. William's wife, Daisy took over the running of the newsagents.

William and Daisy had a further two children in Nottingham, making a grand total of nine.

William Fosterjohn died on 24 October 1935 and is buried in the family grave at Wilford Hill cemetery in Nottingham. Daisy Fosterjohn died on April 3 1949 and was buried with William. My Dad Gordon was born in 1929, the son of Cyril, William's eldest son, and as a child remembered his grandfather as being very religious, strict and somewhat scary.

As a footnote, Leslie Fosterjohn, my great uncle, moved to Swansea in 1963, and in 1970, changed his surname back to John by Deed Poll, thus bringing the story full circle.

Mr William FosterJohn (1864-1935) - A Family Tribute
Information and photograph provided courtesy & copyright © Andy FosterJohn, 2016.

website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: Mitchell's standard guide to Buenos Aires, Internet Archive, San Francisco, US; Bridgend Library & Information Services; National Library of Wales, 'Welsh Newspapers Online' (; British Settlers in Argentina & Uruguay (; Andy FosterJohn, Kenfig Hill

Religion throughout the Kenfig & Surrounding Areas

Methodist Revival (18th & early 19th century)

Relic of the Methodist Revival in Wales

During the latter half of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries, when the Parish Churches were denied to the saintly pioneers of Welsh Calvinistic Methodism in Wales and before they had even entertained the thought of erecting places of worship of their own, they were obliged to held their religious services in cottages, farmhouses, barns, etc., and when an exceptional gathering was to be held (a 'Sassiwn' or 'Association'), the preaching was generally in the open air as no building could be had at that time large enough to contain the number of people attending these gatherings from all parts of the Principality.

At Longland farmhouse, which is situated about a mile and a half north-west of Pyle station on the G.W.R. and about 20 miles west of Cardiff, is a most interesting relic of the dispensation of the itinerary evangelists in the shape of a pulpit chair, especially made for the servant's hall of the above farmhouse at which place services were occasionally held for a great number of years.

The grandfather of the present occupier of Longland was a convert of Mr Howell Harris and from about the year 1775 he opened his house for the meetings there for the people of the neighbourhood of Kenfig, Pyle and Margam. The chair pulpit shown in the picture is the work of a local carpenter and is made from the best Welsh oak, the height of the back to suit the headroom of the hall.

The small chair for the preacher to stand on while preaching was made at the same time for that purpose, at a height which would enable the preacher to see his audience and not too high so as to bring his head in contact with the stout beams under the loft.

Both these chairs were designed for the double purpose of religious and domestic use.

The Rev. Thomas Howell, who is seen standing on the low chair behind the pulpit is a minister of the Calvinistic Methodist connection.

He lives at Longland with his sister, Mrs Thomas, who is a widow and is seen sitting under the pulpit; she is the present tenant under Miss Talbot of Margam Park. The open Bible on the pulpit is the first edition of the Rev. Peter Williams' Welsh Family Bible and Annotations, published 1770.

The hymn-book under Mr Howell's left hand is the first edition in a collective form by the Rev. William Williams of Pantycelyn, published 1811.

It is possible that both the Welsh commentator and hymnologist preached from this chair, as they are known to have often passed through this part of Glamorganshire on their preaching tours; and John Williams, the son of the hymnologist, who was educated for the Church and served for the year 1781 as curate at Coychurch near Bridgend, but eventually went over to the Methodists.

Mr Evans of Llwynffortune, preached here after he was dismissed by his Vicar of Lalestone and Newcastle, Bridgend because he filled the churches with anxious hearers, after which time he was was for over half a century one of the greatest ornaments of the Welsh pulpit with the C.M. at a time when that pulpit was greatest. He died in 1847.

William Thomas, of Pyle often preached at Longland.

He was not reckoned among the ordained ministers of the connection, but an exhorter. He was the chief instrument in establishing the Methodist cause at Cornelly, giving the land for ever to the Methodists on which the chapel is built. We are informed that preaching was continued at Longland occasionally till about the year 1840, since which time the neighbourhood has been well supplied with suitable places of worship of every denomination.

One of the Welsh bards has given a description of 'Ty Draw,' the home of Mr William Thomas, above mentioned and Longland, when occupied by Mr Howell in the following lines:

In Welsh -

"Cegin, parlwr, cell, s 'sgubor,
Oedd yn rhydd at achos Duw;
'Stafell, gwely, bwrdd, canwyllbren,
A phob peth arall yn ei ryw; -
Arian, aur, pan fyddai eisiau,
Gwair, a cheirch, a phorfa fras;
Eto'r blawd oedd yn y celwrn,
A'r olew byth yn cadw ei flas."

In English -

"Kitchen, parlour, cell and garner,
Were freely given without a pause;
Table, chandlier, bed and chamber,
Every thing towards God's best cause;
Silver, gold, when it was needed,
Hay and corn and pastures green;
Still the meal was in the barrel,
The want of oil was never seen."
T.C. Evans (Cadrawd).

The Chair Pulpit - Longland farmhouse

The Chair Pulpit - Longland farmhouse

Above Photograph

The Rev. Thomas Howell, who is seen standing on the low chair behind the pulpit is a minister of the Calvinistic Methodist connection.

He lives at Longland with his sister, Mrs Thomas, who is a widow and is seen sitting under the pulpit; she is the present tenant under Miss Talbot of Margam Park.

The open Bible on the pulpit is the first edition of the Rev. Peter Williams' Welsh Family Bible and Annotations, published 1770.

The hymn-book under Mr Howell's left hand is the first edition in a collective form by the Rev. William Williams of Pantycelyn, published 1811.

Old Newspaper Article

The information opposite is taken from a newspaper article in The Cardiff Times - September 12, 1908.

website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: Bridgend Library & Information Services; National Library of Wales, 'Welsh Newspapers Online' (


S.S. Cato, Nash Sands (March 10, 1940)

The Guinness Wreck


The S.S. Cato was built by Campbeltown Shipbuilding Co, Yard No 99. & was requisitioned as a munitions carrier in the First World War. During World War II and on 10 March 1940 whilst en-route from Dublin to Bristol, the S.S. Cato struck a mine off Nash Point & sank (13 of her 15 crew perished).


When the S.S. Cato sank off Nash Sands she was carrying a cargo of stout in barrels - these barrels appeared "washed-up" all along the coastline and many locals enjoyed the free drink that she provided. The shipwreck was aptly nicknamed "The Guinness Wreck"


Some tales from around the Kenfig coastline in respect of the Guinness Wreck.

The race was on between customs officials & the locals to secure the barrels and both early morning and late evening stolls along the local beaches became a very popular pastime. Some were caught in the act of hiding their finds and subsequently prosecuted but many local households enjoyed the free Guinness that year.

At Porthcawl the customs & excise hired a shed in Newton Dunes to store any barrels recovered which was under lock and key; however it didn't take the local workforce long to find their own way in - apparently the workforce over-indulged in the stout and couldn't work the following day as they were in no fit state.

Some of the barrels were found at Kenfig. Due to the remoteness of the dunes it made it difficult for the excise men to recover them. Regular patrols were made along the beach and any broken barrels found were tipped over allowing their contents to drain into the sand. The dunes however, provided hiding places for the barrels.

The blacksmith at Gaines Quarry in South Cornelly apparently recovered a barrel from one of these hiding places in the dunes during the night and transferred it undetected to a shed behind his smithy - there it remained hidden until all its contents had been disposed of over the following months.

Barrels that were hidden in the dunes were visited from time to time by some and jugs & bottles filled up and taken home, however with few permanent landmarks & the dunes in constant motion through the action of the wind, it is said that some barrels were never recovered & may even still be there today !!!

One tale recalls of a night time Guinness beach party where some revellers sitting astride an empty barrel & singing launched themselves out into Swansea Bay and were never seen again.


The main beneficiaries from the barrels on Kenfig Beach were said to have been personnel from RAF Stormy Down who possessed the organisation, the equipment and numbers to recover what barrels came ashore at this location.

A story from a former landlord of the New House Inn, North Cornelly who was a young lad at the time states that he and his mates went beachcombing at Kenfig at that time, they didn't find any barrels but instead came across an aircraft from Stormy Down that had made a forced landing due to engine failure. Mechanics from the airfield attended, removed the engine & repaired it in a makeshift workshop set up nearby.

When the lads arrived they helped the RAF men lift the engine back into its housing of the aircraft - as a thank you the crew invited the lads to join them for refreshments in their tent - it was Guinness of course !!!

SS Cato 'Barrel Smuggle' 2015

Porthcawl RNLI commemorative Second World War sinking of the SS Cato off Porthcawl's coast in 1940.

On Saturday 19 September, 2015 a short commemorative service was held at the Watch House, Porthcawl harbour which was attended by Porthcawl RNLI staff and volunteers, Porthcawl Lions Club, Porthcawl Museum & History Society, the Mayor & Mayoress of Porthcawl, the County of Bridgend MP and others along with friends and relatives of the crew of the SS Cato who travelled to Porthcawl from Bristol to attend the service.

A commemorative plaque was unveiled and poems read to remember those lost in the incident. A walk from Porthcawl RNLI Head Quarters along the coastal pathway then commenced finishing at the Prince of Wales Inn at Kenfig.

Teams representing Porthcawl RNLI, Porthcawl Museum & History Society, Porthcawl Lions Club and the Prince of Wales Inn (to mention a few) took part in the walk raising an awareness to the fateful demise of the S.S. Cato and its crew in 1940 and the RNLI. The teams were in fancy dress and all had to carry an 'empty' beer barrel throughout the journey representing the barrels of Guinness lost in 1940.

The walk culminated at the Prince of Wales Inn at Kenfig where a magnificent feast including entertainment awaited the walkers.


The BBC Wales South East news team picked up on this event and published it on their news website that weekend after having contacted us via telephone beforehand - Read the article: Porthcawl's Guinness shipwreck remembered

Further Reading

S.S. Cato (The Wreck Site) - S.S. Cato (The Wreck Site)
S.S. Cato 'Barrel Smuggle' Event (facbook) - SS Cato 'Barrel Smuggle'
Porthcawl RNLI (facebook) - Porthcawl RNLI
Prince of Wales Inn, Kenfig (facebook) - Prince Of Wales Inn Kenfig

website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2016 Source: Bridgend Library & Information Services.
Photos courtesy: ODPDS Creative (Mr Rob Bowen); The Wreck Site; Vaughan-Jenkins (c.1914 photograph steam-ship SS Cato, (Bristol Steam Navigation Co) Cumberland Basin, Bristol)
S.S. Cato - Memorial Service
S.S. Cato - Memorial Service
S.S. Cato - Memorial Service
Porthcawl Museum, MP for Bridged & Porthcawl Mayor
Porthcawl Lions Club
Porthcawl RNLI & others at the start of walk


Archaeological digs at Kenfig were executed throughout the early and latter parts of the 20th century by both the Margam & Aberavon History Society and the Kenfig Society respectively. In August 2011 Channel 4 Time Team visited Kenfig and spent 3 days excavating the buried medieval town of Kenfig - their finds were filmed and subsequently aired on television to a global audience.

In October 2013 a Welsh television production company for S4C called Trisgell were invited by the Kenfig Corporation Trust to carry out an archaeological dig near to the Angel Inn in Mawdlam after viewing aerial photographs showing an oval feature possibly a windmill lying under the sand. Ground scans confirmed the existance of ditches & possibly an entrance to an iron-age settlement.
Margam & Aberavon History Society dig - 1930s
Kenfig Society dig - 1993
Kenfig Society dig - 1993


Happy New Year from Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)

New Website 2016

Our new website will replace the existing site over the coming months with much more information on Kenfig & surrounding areas.

Educational Resource

Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) is the only online educational resource on Kenfig's rich & colourful history, documenting the entire history of Kenfig and its surrounding areas from Prehistory to the Present Day.

It is an online repository of archives solely related to this area in South Wales, United Kingdom. | |


The Construction of the M4 Motorway (c.1977)

Pictorial history of construction of M4 Motorway throughout the Kenfig area

Photos courtesy: Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services
M4 at Pyle/Mawdlam looking East c.1977
M4 at Pyle/Mawdlam looking West c.1977
M4 bridge over Pyle/Porthcawl Road c.1977
M4 flyover at Rogers Lane, Cefn Cribwr facing West
M4 flyover at Rogers Lane, Cefn Cribwr facing West
M4 flyover at Rogers Lane, facing Cefn Cribwr


S.S. Amazon, Margam Sands (Sept 1, 1908)

Great Havoc Wrought by The Gale - Sailing Vessel Driven Ashore on Margam Sands

The four-masted Barque S.S. Amazon was driven onto Margam Sands in a severe gale. The ship broke up with loss of 20 of her 28 crew.

Twenty Men Perish in the Sight of Thousands

The terrific south-westerly gale which swept the country from end to end on Monday night was one of the fiercest of recent years. It continued with almost unabated force on Tuesday morning with the result that very serious disaster was caused on sea and land. The four-masted sailing vessel Amazon, laden with 2,000 tons of coal and bound for Iquique, was driven ashore on Margam Sands and battered to pieces in the presence of hundreds of helpless spectators.

The rocket apparatus proved ineffective, the lifeboat from the Mumbles, for some reason or other did not arrive and of the crew of twenty-eight no fewer than twenty gallant sailors (including the captain) were washed from the rigging and drowned. Other serious mishaps are reported from various places on the South and West Coasts, but, fortunately they were not attended with loss of life.


Twenty Lives Lost Off Margam
Not since the day when the Agnes Jack foundered off Port Eynon, 25 years ago, has a shipping disaster in the Bristol Channel been attended with such a serious loss of life as that which happened within hailing distance of Margam Beach on Tuesday morning.

Twenty lives were lost within a hundred yards of the shore and in the presence of some thousands of people who were powerless to render effective assistance. The spectacle of so many brave men perishing in an angry sea was one of the most sad and thrilling within living recollection and one which will perpetuate the memory of the terrible storm which swept our seas throughout Monday night and the early hours of Tuesday morning.

With a crew of twenty-eight hands and in command of Captain Garrick, of Penarth, the Amazon, a four-masted vessel, was towed out of Port Talbot Docks on Monday morning with a cargo of 2,000 tons of coal.

She was bound for Iquique, one of the Chilian ports and at the time of her departure there was only a light south-westerly breeze blowing. She was towed a far as the Mumbles. By this time the breeze in which they set out of harbour had developed into a gale and Captain Garrick gave orders to drop one of the anchors, it being found impossible to keep the vessel's head to the wind. Leaving the Amazon anchored off Mumbles Head, the tug steamed back to port.


As night came on the fury of the gale increased and orders were given to drop the port anchor with twenty fathoms of chain. The vessel weathered the storm until the dawn of Tuesday morning and there was every hope of all being well until the ship began to drag her anchors. Swept by a mountainous wave which caught the ship full broadside, the starboard anchor was broken away like a toy.

An anchorage was tried on the port side, but to no purpose and the Amazon began to drift up Channel to what was destined to be her doom. With her broadside to the gale and completely out of control, she was carried swiftly before the gale and Captain Garrick, keenly alive to the perilous situation, ordered his men to take to the rigging and to provide themselves with life belts.

At the same time the lifeboats were got into readiness to be lowered. As she came within view of a few people who happened to be on the beach the vessel looked like grounding on the Port Talbot sands, but the gale carried her along in a southerly direction and she did not run aground until she had reached a point about a mile and a half on the eastern side of the Port Talbot dock entrance.

All this time a tremendous sea was running and there was no abatement in the force of the gale. As the vessel grounded on the sandy beach she was swept mercilessly by the huge ground swell and at intervals the tops of the masts were barely discernible.

It was about half-past eight when the vessel grounded having drifted for two hours from the time she broke away from her anchorage. By nine o'clock some hundreds of people had hurried down to the beach from Port Talbot, Aberavon, Margam and the surrounding districts and in the next half-hour the crowd of spectators had increased to thousands.

Though great in numbers and so near as to be able to hear the shouts of the distressed mariners for help, they were as powerless to give it as if they had been a thousand miles away.

Gradually sinking into the sand, the vessel became an easy prey to the all-destroying waves. The mast stays snapped like whipcord and one after another three of the four masts toppled into the sea with sails tattered and torn into shreds. Death was slowly, but surely, overtaking the poor sailors, most of whom were seen to make the rigging of the only remaining mast as their last resort of escape.

Others were seen to make their final bid for life by jumping overboard and trusting to their lifebelts and their strong arms to carry them safely through the malestrom of surf. Some of them got safely through, but not until they had been swirled along to the beach near the Morfa Colliery, where they found a footing and scrambled ashore exhausted. Others who made the attempt found their strength unequal to the task and went down.


While the mizzenmast of the Amazon remained upright and the men who had climbed into the rigging could retain their hold, there was some hope of saving them; but even this vanished when the spectators, to their horror, saw the stout timber snap near its base and the men in the rigging hurled into the sea.

The breakers seemed greater and more terrible than ever and the vessel, which from the moment it stranded was a total wreck, was completely enveloped by the waves. The agonised cries of the sailors could be heard distinctly and women who mingled with the crowd on the beach became hysterical.

S.S. Amazon Shipwreck - To Be Continued...

Survivors' Stories
Opening of the Inquest
Chief Mate's Story
Dock Company's Sympathy

website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2015 Source: National Library of Wales, 'Welsh Newspapers Online' ( - The Weekly Mail - Saturday, September 5, 1908


Learn more...


When the tide had receded so far as to leave the vessel within about 30 yards of the shore several gallant attempts were made to reach her. Standing out as the noblest deed of all was the effort made by Mr. Charles Russell, an engineer, temporarily residing at Port Talbot.

Mr Russell plunged into the boiling surf and swam to the rescue of one man who continued to cling to the stump of the mast when all the others were swept away and his gallantry was rewarded by his success in saving the life of Christopher Sullivan.

Russell was badly buffeted and severely injured and he now occupies the adjoining room to that of the man he saved. Almost immediately after Sullivan had been brought ashore several of the spectators who had scrambled to the side of the Amazon were rejoiced to find that there was still another man alive on board.

He was so tightly wedged in the wreckage as to be almost entirely concealed from view. There was a shout of gladness when he was carried safely to land.


Being well known and held in the highest esteem in the Port Talbot district, it was only natural that much concern should have been felt as to the fate of the white-bearded veteran, Captain Garrick, but it was not long before all doubt was dispelled.

The brave old mariner had gone down with his ship.

One of the survivors, in giving a narrative of his experiences, said that his skipper was struck a violent blow on the head while he stood at his post on deck and that when he last saw him the blood was streaming down his face and he appeared to be stunned.

Everything that could be done in the way of giving succour to the survivors was carried out by the local police and dock officials, who supplied restoratives and carried the men on ambulances from the seashore to the nearest hotels.

Prior to this, however, they were taken to the Morfa Cottages, which are the nearest habitations to that part of the foreshore where the survivors found a safe footing after their desperate swim for life.

Medical aid was rendered by Dr. J.H. Williams, of Aberavon, who was early on the scene. The Port Talbot dock officials authorised Police inspector Canton to spare no expense in providing every comfort for the rescued seamen and in communicating with the relatives and friends of all who were on board the Amazon.


Captain - A. Garrick, 134 Windsor road, Penarth
First Mate - E. Halley, 29 Nixon avenue, Glasgow
Second-Mate - J. Logan, 28 Dalrymple street, Greenock
Steward - J. McLean, 68 Wellington street, Greenock
Cook - Joseph Marien, (coloured man) lodging at 16 Cwmavon road, Aberavon
Sailmaker - Alex Crawford, 28 Tobacco street, Greenock
Carpenter - W. Lamant, 37 Roxburgh street, Greenock
A.B. - John Adams, Rosen street, Pren, Germany
A.B. - Sydney C. Evans, 10 Ellen street, Ferndale
Charles E. Kee, 33, Waterloo street, Ramsey, Isle of Wight
Arthur M. Pillins, 56 Cameron street, Liverpool


James Robinson, Leith
R.L. Henry, Edinburgh
R.B. Mayes, Leeds
A.F. Orr, Glasgow
N.C. McLeod Allen, Glasgow


Second-Mate - J. Logan
A.B.- Charles E. Kee
A.B. - James Dacon
A.B. - Patrick Morgan
A.B. - names by nickname of "Brum"
Apprentice - Allen


First-Mate - E. Halley
A.B. - John Adams
A.B. - Sydney C. Evans (very critical condition)
Carl Christensen (critical condition)
A.B. - William Wickenberg
A.B. - Christopher Sullivan
A.B. - J.F. Lockwood

Fourteen bodies still missing

Wreck of the S.S. Amazon - Margam Sands
Newspaper Article - Amazon Shipwreck
Newspaper Article - Amazon Shipwreck


Cynefin - Mapiau Degwm Cymru

Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) is pleased to announce it is now working in partnership with the National Library of Wales on their Cynefin project which involves the digitisation of the Tithe Maps of Wales. The Kenfig heritage website began an Interactive Tithe Map section on its website in 2011 -

The National Library of Wales is undertaking the Cynefin project to digitise the Tithe Maps of Wales & therefore it makes common sense to work in collaboration with the National Library on this project with specific reference to the Kenfig and surrounding areas that we are responsible for in the first instance with the Kenfig website. The new Kenfig website will look to integrate elements of the Cynefin project within its own infrastructure and/or cross-reference works within our own specific area in question in the future.

Tithe Maps

These were payments charged on land users. Originally payments were made using commodities such as crops, wool, milk & stock. Tithe Maps were produced between 1838 & 1850 to ensure that all tithes were paid with money rather than produce. Tithe maps are the most detailed maps of their period & cover more than 95% of Wales. Each map lists the payable tithes, the names of the landowners & land occupiers, the land use & in most cases the field names.

National Library of Wales - Cynefin project

Cynefin Project

The aims of the project are to repair and digitise around 1,200 tithe maps & transcribe over 30,000 pages of index documents. An online resource is to be created which can be accessed freely to research the tithe maps & their indexes in an efficient and innovative way.

The project is always looking for volunteers to contribute to its works. If anyone is interested in helping this project the website is listed below.

Volunteer works involve the following
  • Transcribing a map
  • Transcribing an apportionment document
  • Georeferencing a map
  • Clipping a map

  • The Cynefin project -

    National Library of Wales - Cynefin project
    Parish of Pyle & Kenfig - Tithe Map
    Parish of Pyle & Kenfig - Tithe Map


    Nottage - An Ancient Village (Notais meaning The Pollard Ash Tree)

    The original village of Nottage was sited on a small hill lying above the level of the Wilderness marshland and near a stream which flowed southwards through the Rhyll to an inlet of the sea. Artifacts found in and around Nottage indicate that Beaker Folk, Celts and Romans inhabitaed the area. There are links with Nottage and St David, the Patron Saint of Wales, including a well in Moor Lane called St David's Well.
    During the early 12th century, William Earl of Gloucester awarded his faithful supporter Richard of Cardiff 'for his services, New Town in Margam' (Ricardo de Kardif pro suo Novam Villam in Margam). The boundary of Novam Villam extended from the sea northwards through Dewiscumbe (The Rhyll) to Park Newydd Farm.
    Nottage was outside Novam Villam possibly due to the presence of a Celtic Church. Influences of Norman occupation became more apparent through the centuries. Activities of the Roman Church, extension of Monastic farming and religious activity, grants of land, marriage and inheritance all combined to create one Parish and by the year 1300, the Ecclesiastical Parish of Newton-Nottage had been formed.

    GHOSTLY goings on in Nottage (Ghost Stories, Superstitions, Legends & Fairy Tales)


    This lane is documented on maps since the 16th century & legends refer to its earlier times of significance.
    A section of Nottage Court wall pours over lanes original path; the wall was divided to allow trams & horses access to surrounding area - this was known as the Dyffryn Llynfi tramway (horse drawn trams transporting coal & iron to pwll cawl bay by an Act drawn up 1825)
    Cuckoo Bridge, Nottage
    Ffynon Dewi Well, Nottage


    The halt was a sub-station to the main Porthcawl train station. It was built in 1897 & had the adopted nickname of "Golfer's Halt" as golfers would leave the train & use horse-drawn carriages to reach their destination. Porthcawl railway line was discontinued in 1964 due to the Beeching Act resulting in Nottage Halt & track being demolished.


    There is a ghostly noise of an invisible steam train that has been heard on many occasions in the vicinity of Nottage Halt - it is considered lucky to hear this by locals.


    This is a stone bridge in Moor Lane near Nottage which was commissoned by Royal approval under an Act of Parliament on June 10, 1825. The bridge was opened in 1828 and used as a tramway for horse drawn carriages as part of the Dyffryn Llynvi Porthcawl Railway.
    The bridge was later widened to make way for second line, which never materialised. In 1861 a new track was erected to accomodate steam trains when the tramway made way for railway tracks which were laid by John Hodgkinson of Newport.


    The illusionary noise of horses hooves thundering across the bridge have been heard & the misty vision of a headless horseman have been reported galloping across the silent bridge.
    Legend has it that its unlucky to make a sound whilst passing under the bridge as the demons of our past consider it disrespectful - this myth has yet to be proven.
    A mystery hitch hiker dressed in old fashioned clothing seems eager to accept a lift from unsuspecting drivers in the vicinity of Cuckoo Bridge. He is seen standing by the bridge before jumping into the back seat of the passing vehicle.


    The Welsh Patron Saint visited this place in the 6th century and drank from the well. He declared it to be of sacred ground proclaiming water had important healing powers. The well gets its name from ancient dell of dewiscombe (david's valley) mentioned in 12th century grant by william, earl of Gloucester to Richard of Cardiff from Novum Villiam in Margan.
    An inscription on a stone next to the well was erected in 1903.


    The well has its own unique tale of ghostly apparition. The misty but serene face of a little girl peering up from the depths of the water at dusk has been seen on a number of occasions - it is not known who she was but legend maintains she drowned in a tragic accident.


    This was a valley just below St David's Well (Ffynon Dewi) which once consisted of a stream & lake which sank through cracks formed in limestone rock - this formed an underground stream which extended down to the wilderness marshland on right hand side of this lane.


    A circular walk from Nottage Village Green through the countryside around Nottage - provided by Bridgend's Heritage

    website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2015. Source: The History & Hauntings of Porthcawl, Hayley Williams, Bridgend County Borough Library & Information Services.

    The Kenfig National Nature Reserve Centre Notice Board currently reads as follows:


    Vistor Centre Closed

    We are very sorry but the reception and shop are no longer open due to staff cuts. A warden works out on the reserve and the centre is still available for school groups and other bookings.

    Warden's mobile: 07817 178636
    Reserve office: 01656 743386
    Council offices: 01656 815333


    This website has nothing to do with the Kenfig Nature Reserve - We are NOT able to reply to you

    If you are trying to contact the reserve please use the following contacts


    Dave Carrington (Reserve Manager)

    Kenfig National Nature Reserve
    Ton Kenfig
    CF33 4PT
    Tel: 01656 743386

    Bridgend County Borough Council

    Countryside Department

    Civic Offices
    Angel Street
    CF31 4WB
    Tel: 01656 815333

    Please use the above to contact Kenfig Nature Reserve - Bridgend County Borough Council are responsible for Kenfig National Nature Reserve

    Photo Journal 2015 - Kenfig National Nature Reserve

    All photos by Rob Bowen (ODPDS Creative -

    Wales Coast Path - Thu 30 April
    Keeper of the Dunes - Fri 6 Feb
    Sunset at Kenfig - Tue 30 June


    Map Ref: SS 88 SW & OS Ref: SS 819 823

    Llanmihangel Mill is located north of the River Kenfig on a lane from Marlas Road, Pyle, to Llanmihangel Farm. The south end of the mill abuts Llanmihangel Mill farmhouse its north end is built into the bank known as Coed-y-Gollen. The mill is built of rubble sandstone with a slate roof supported on machine-cut timbers. The waterwheel is sutuated at the north end of the mill in an arched chamber accessible only from the tail race.


    Llanmihangel Mill or Saint Michaels Mill as it was originally called was part of the Grange of Saint Michael the second largest grange of Margam Abbey. It covered an area of 7 carucates. Margam Abbey was founded in 1147 AD & was endowed with a large tract of land between the rivers Avon & Kenfig by Robert Earl of Gloucester.

    This charter is no longer extant but its text is preserved in an inspexium by Hugh le Despenser dated 9th October 1338 in which William, son of Robert conforms his father's gift. Also granting them, the monks the fishery in Kenfig water provided that my mill of Kenfig be not affected by it. Pope Urban III's Bull of 1186 which was signed in Verona on 11th November mentions the Grange of Saint Michael & its appurtenances, this is possibly the earliest mention of Llanmihangel Mill.

    An apostolic mandate in 1326 required the Abbot of Margam Abbey to draw up a detailed account of properties, income & monies held by the Abbey. In this account under the heading Saint Michaels Grange dated Thursday next after the octave of Easter 1326 the yearly value of a fulling mill is given as £1-0-0 and water mill as 13s-4d. The conculsion from this that the manufacture of cloth was more important & of greater financial advantage than the grinding of corn & the making of bread. Both mills were sited near the River Kenfig, the fulling mill at Ynys-y-Pandy. This was demolished c.1850 when the railway embankment was constructed.

    Further reference to Llanmihangel Mill or to be precise, the mill leats can be found in the charter of Thomas le Despenser Lord of Glamorgan dated 16th February in the twentieth year of the reign of Richard II (ie. 1397) In this he describes part of the boundary thus: and these are the bounds of their liberty, namely, between the place called Newditch and the place called Taddulcrosse and a certain boundary leading from Newditch to Taddulcrosse between the lands of Margam Abbey and the lands of Teakeburie on the east of a certain stream called Blaklaak.

    In 1527 John ap Thomas David ap Hoell and John ap John his son were admitted tenants of the watermill called Seynt Mizchells is mylle - the rent being 40 shillings and court suit, two capons or four pence for entry at Kenfig by Sir Cradock, Knight, a steward on the 15th October 1527.

    Margam Abbey was surrendered to the crown on 28 February 1537, its buildings & land were disposed of by Crown Sale. Sir Rice Mansel, Knight, Councillor to the King purchased land including the Grange of Saint Michael for the sum of £500-0-0 being part payment of £938-6-8 dated Westminster 22nd June 1540. The acquittance for £438-6-8 being due on the 1st October 1540. Llanmihangel Mill was not purchased until 1546 when other granges & properties were bought for the sum of £678-1-6 dated Hampton Court 28th August 1546.

    By the middle of the 18th century cast iron gears were being used in watermills and by the 1820's there must have been a number of foundries in South Wales capable of producing gearing. This was not the case at Llanmihangel Mill.

    Mill Accounts 1771-1799

    Hopkin Llewellyn, steward of the Margam Estate & lessee of Llanmihangel Mill kept accounts for the mill from 1771-1799. During this period it appears the mill had a timber waterwheel & gears - this is borne out by entries in this account book. A watermill is not just the building, waterwheel & gears but also includes the weir, leats & the mechanisms used to control the flow of water to the mill. Considered in its entirety maintenance of the mill was on-going.

    By the turn of the 19th century it is reasonable to assume that the mill had wooden cogs & waterwheel. The cutting of rounds indicates lantern type stone-nuts which would been in permanent mesh with the great spur wheel. The only way of stopping & starting the mill stones was by controlling the flow of the water onto the waterwheel. It is assumed the wooden cogs were replaced with cast iron ones at the same time as the pit wheel on which the name of the Eaglebush foundary appears - however, no other cog bridging box or other cast iron item in the power train bears this manufacturers name. The waterwheel would still be timber at this time & in good condition.

    A large area of Margam Estate was agricultural land & considering the importance of the waterwheel for grinding cereals for flour & animal feed, references to the mill are few & far between. The mills importance would have decreased as the Margam Estate's income relied less on that from the farms & property but more on the copper, coal & iron industries of South Wales.


    The earliest map on which Llanmihangel Mill appears is one of a series drawn in 1814 when the Margam Estate was surveyed by Robert Wright Hall of Cirencester on the instructions of the trustees of the estate. This is followed by the 1881 25 inch Ordinance Survey map & subsequent issues. A Tythe Map for Margam was not drawn possibly because of its previous monastic associations.

    Webpage Researcher/Author

    Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2015 Source: Llanmihangel Mill, A Brief History & Survey - Richard Alan Rowe, 1999. Bridgend Library & Information Services.

    A new section on the Monastic Granges of Margam will be included on our new website, this includes details of The Grange of Saint Michael at Pyle as outlined above
    Information sourced from An inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Glamorgan Vol.2, Vol.4. by the Royal Commission on the Ancient Monuments in Wales.


    A brand new version of this website is currently being created & will be integrated into this website over the coming months

    We also have some very important news in relation to a brand new heritage project in the Bridgend County launching soon that we are also involved within... Coming Soon

    Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)

    Kenfig Social Networking Centre - Communicate & Interact with the online Kenfig Community

    Log into Facebook & Twitter to keep up to date with new material including old Newspaper Articles, Photos & lots more on the history of Kenfig & surrounding areas - Kenfig Times, Cornelly Heritage, WWI around Kenfig & Margam Estate
    Click on rhe drop-down menu and/or the links above on our New Kenfig Social Networking Centre

    Cornelly or Corneli

    The Story of a Village, its history, its people, events and lots more...

    South Cornelly

    South Cornelly came into being as an Anglo-Norman settlement in the second half of the 12th century. It is the ‘original’ Cornelly, though a document of the time indicates that it narrowly escaped being known as ‘Thomastown’ after Thomas son of William who was an early Lord of the Manor here. His descendants subsequently adopted the name ‘De Cornelly’ and their house is believed to have stood where the mansion called Ty Maen stands behind high walls on the main road through the village.

    The earliest elements of the present building date from around 1650 and it incorporates many unusual features. Above the main door is carved the war cry of the Knights Templar ( Non Nobis Domine, Non Nobis) whilst a pane of glass in one of the windows depicts a coat of arms believed to be those of Bishop Law of Carlisle – neither he nor the Templars are known to have any connections with this locality.

    A Priest’s hole was discovered in an upstairs bedroom concealed behind an old cupboard. The site of the old church was in a field where the present day house ‘Meadowrise’ is located which stood by the wall nearlest the road opposite Ty Maen House.

    Education in Cornelly

    Former Corneli Council School, Cornelly Cross

    North Cornelly

    Originally a sub manor of the Kenfig Borough which lay outside the boundaries of the Borough itself, its earliest holders were the Lupellus family who later adopted the name Lovel.

    The earliest recorded name of the village from a document that dates from before 1183 is the rather cumbersome ‘The Vill of Walter Lupellus’. The name Cornelly arose probably due to its close proximity to the crossroads (Cornelly Cross) where the road to the original village of Cornelly (Present South Cornelly) branched off from the main road. The village adjoining the Cornelly junction therefore became known by that name and ‘North’ and ‘South’ were added to distinguish between the two.

    History of Education throughtout the Kenfig Area

    Cornelly Education including old photos, newspaper articles & individual accounts from former pupils and teachers alike.

    COMING SOON... Cornelly - The Story of a Village, its history, its people, events and lots more...

    Search Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)

    The First World War around Kenfig

    As the World marks the centenary of the outbreak of WWI this website is creating a special online resource on the First World War & how it affected Kenfig & surrounding areas... this will be included in the War Years Section

    The First World War & The Margam Estate

    As the lands throughout the majority of the Kenfig and surrounding neighbourhood were owned by the Margam Estate throughout the First World War, we are also creating a special online resource on the First World War & The Margam Estate... this will be included in the War Years Section

    We are beginning our quest with the poignant story of a Kenfig Hill man who sacrificed his life for us all, he was only 21 when he died on the battlefields of the Somme and The Margam Estate receieved news that two young and promising lads from that village had been killed at the Dardanelles, one being the son of the head coachman to Miss Talbot at Margam Castle and the other being the son of Mr J.V.Morgan, clerk of the works to Miss Talbot.

    What the Papers Said...
    WWI - Kenfig

    The Glamorgan Gazette, Friday 15 September 1916

    Kenfig Hill Soldier's Death - Pte "Jack" Bowen

    One of the most popular young men that Kenfig Hill has given to the Army has made "the great sacrifice." Official news has come to hand that Pte. Thomas John Bowen, of the Post Office, Kenfig Hill, has been killed in action. "Jack" as he was known to his many friends, was a universal favourite, his quiet, winning manners endearing him to all. He was a regular attendant at St Theodore's Church and was also a member of the Y.M.C.A.

    He joined the 20th Welsh ("Pals" Company) on November 1st, 1915 and was stationed at Kinmel Park, Rhyl, before being drafted to France. He was later transferred to the 15th Welsh Regiment. He met his death in the "great push" at Mametz Wood on July 10th last, at the early age of 21. Prior to enlistment, he acted as town postman at Kenfig Hill.

    The following letter was received from his commanding officer: "I regret to say Pte T.J.Bowen was killed in the great fight in Mametz Wood. Please accept my deepest sympathy in the loss of a man who was a credit to his platoon, and who fought a good fight." Needless to say , the greatest sympathy is felt in the neighbourhood with his parents and relatives in their sad loss.

    What the Papers Said...
    WWI - Margam Estate

    The Herald of Wales & Mid Glamorgan Herald & Neath Gazette - Saturday Dec 25, 1915

    A Margam War Tragedy

    Information reached Margam on Monday that two young and promising lads from that village had been killed at the Dardanelles, viz, Privates Cyril Ogden and Percy Morgan, of the Royal Engineers.

    The former is the son of the head coachman to Miss Talbot at Margam Castle and the other is the son of Mr J.V.Morgan, clerk of the works to Miss Talbot.

    Both lads are about 22 years of age and joined together. They were at school together, played cricket with the Margam Club together and enlisted at the same time and in the same regiment and both were killed with the same shell.

    Percy Morgan was a very promising cricketer and had done well for the Margam Club and keen sympathy will be felt with the relatives of both in their bereavement.

    website researcher/author: © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2014. All rights reserved. Learn more.. [ Intellectual Property ] All information researched, edited, collated, authored & published (including photos & graphics)
    Source: National Library of Wales 'The Welsh Experience of the First World War' ( & National Library of Wales, 'Welsh Newspapers Online' (

    The First World War around Kenfig - War years Section

    Margam Estate Murder - Gamekeeper shot dead, culprit tried & executed at Swansea Gaol in 1898

    What the Papers Said...

    Cardiff Times & South Wales Weekly News - Saturday 03 September 1898

    Title: Margam Murder - execution of Lewis at Swansea

    Crime Committed: Thursday June 9th 1898

    Execution Date: 30 August 1898

    History of the Crime

    The murder which Lewis has expiated on the scaffold was committed on Thursday June 9th on Margam Estate, the victim being Robert Scott a gamekeeper in Miss Talbot's service. Between six and seven o'clock in the evening of the day named Scott and Kidd, two underkeepers were in the deer park to the south east of a woodland known as Cwm Philip and on rising ground.

    Hawtin, a police constable employed by the estate was also out some distance away from Kidd and Scott.

    The latter saw a man coming down the mountain side a mile or so away and took counsel with his colleague and PC Hawtin whose attention had been directed to the approaching stranger. The keepers formed a plan for the arrest of the tresspasser, Scott being told off to go towards the farmhouse of Blaenmallwg whilst Kidd and Hawtin kept along the mountain wall. Scott was seen by the two other keepers going in the direction of Cwm Philip and Joseph Lewis (for the tresspasser was none other than the man who committed the murder) was watched until 30 yards distant from the turnip field gate in the neighbourhood of Cwm Philip.

    Scott was Unarmed

    Lewis carried a loaded double-barrelled gun. Looking over the mountain wall, Lewis must have had his victim within easy range - 14 yards or so away and putting up his gun he fired at the defenceless gamekeeper. The shot was not fatal and poor Scott badly wounded in the face, crawled along the gutter towards a gap in the wall and then exhausted by the loss of blood, swooned away.

    Lewis pursued his victim and discharged the remaining barrel, the shot striking the other side of the face of the dying man. Not content with the terrible work already done, Lewis went up to his victim, whom he kicked on the head in order to make sure that the awful crime should not fall short of fatal issues.

    The murderer proceeded up the gulley on the mountain side and some distance from the scene of the tragedy hid his gun and ammunition in some brushwood. Dilligent search was made for the body of the victim all through the night, but it was not until about 9 o'clock on the Friday morning that the mangled form was found in the dyke where Lewis had done his victim to death.

    Having got rid of the rifle with which the murder was committed, Lewis made his way down the dingle and near Brombil Farm he spoke to tow witnesses who gave evidence at his trial. Proceeding on his way, the wretched man arrived at Aberavon where he found shelter for the night and in the morning obtained a change of clothing from his home in Maesteg.

    Lewis was released after the first arrest, the clothes he wore not corresponding with those described as being worn by the man seen in the vicinity of the murder when the crime was committed. Explanation of this circumstance being soon forthcoming, Lewis was re-arrested.

    On Tuesday August 9th, the accused was tried before Mr Justice Wills at the Glamorganshire Assizes, Swansea.

    When the charge was read over to him of feloniously killing and slaying Robert Scott, the prisioner answered in a firm and clear voice "Not guilty." The most damaging evidence tendered against Lewis was that of witmesses to whom he had practically confessed the crime and the jury, after tow days' trial, found the accused guilty.

    Sentenced to Death

    In pronouncing the death sentence Mr Justice Wills said, Joseph Lewis you have been found guilty by a jury after the most patient deliberation and I am sure the fullest consideration of your case.

    Everything has been said for you that could possibly be said in such a case and the result has been, I should think, to leave no shadow of a doubt on the mind of anybody who has listened to this long trial that the jury have arrived at a perfectly just and right conclusion. There can be no doubt that yours was an act that murdered the unfortunate man. There can be no doubt that you sent him to his last account without a moment's warning.

    The law is more merciful to you. I implore you to spend the remaining days of your existence in trying to prepare yourself for the great change that must come on you for such a crime as you have been guilty of there is but one sentence known to the law and that sentence it is now my duty to pronounce - that you be taken hence to the place whence you came, and then to the place of execution, and that there you be hanged by the neck till you are dead. And that your body be buried within the precincts of the gaol at which you shall last have been confined and may the Lord have mercy on you soul.

    The prisoner heard the sentence with great firmness.

    The Closing Scene

    On Tuesday morning in the presence only of the prison officials, Joseph Lewis who murdered Robert Scott, gamekeeper on the Margam Estate under such appallingly cruel circumstances expiated his terrible crime on the scaffold within the precincts of Swansea Gaol. The tolling of the bell a few minutes before 8 o'clock conveyed to the knot of morbidly curious spectators who had assembled outside the gaol that the grim sentence of the law pronounced by Mr Justise Wills was being carried into effect, while the running up of the black flag shortly afterwards was the signal that poor Scott's awful death had been avenged.

    To be Continued...

    website researcher/author: © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2014. All rights reserved. Learn more.. [ Intellectual Property ] All information researched, edited, collated, authored & published (including photos & graphics)
    Source: National Library of Wales, 'Welsh Newspapers Online' (

    Iron Age hill fort found by TV Crew near Kenfig

    Archaeologists have found the remains of an Iron Age hill fort in Bridgend county. The discovery at Maudlam village near Kenfig was made during filming for S4C programme Archaeoleg. Read more ....BBC News South East Wales

    Latest News: updated 29 October 2013

    During the past week (Mon 21 - Fri 25 October 2013) an archaeological dig has been ongoing at Kenfig searching for remains that could pre-date the lost Norman town and/or city of Kenfig by centuries.

    A Welsh tevelvision production company, Trisgell is producing a 6-part history series to be shown on S4C in 2014 were invited by the Kenfig Corporation Trust - they chose to dig at a site near to the Angel Inn in Maudlam after viewing aerial photographs that show an oval feature, possibly a windmill lying under the sand. Ground scans confirmed the existence of ditches & possibly an entrance to an iron-age settlement.

    The lead Archaeologist & presenter Dr Iestyn Jones dubbed the site called 'Twmpath Y Felin Wyllt' meaning Windmill Hill "enigmatic". He also said that the site is obviously closed, there are banks & ditches all the way around but the sand hides everything that was here originally.

    Dr Jones also said, "If it's Iron-Age we're looking at something between 500BC & the Roman occupation - if it's Bronze Age it might be even before that, but we don't know. This would have pre-dated the village by some considerable time & might have been one of the earliest settlements in this area." The archaeological dig hopes to uncover pottery which can be analysed to provide an exact date for the settlement in the territory of the Silures Iron-Age tribe.

    Further information on this archaeological dig & when the television programme will be screened on S4C will be published on this website in the future.

    Source: Glamorgan Gazette newspaper (25 October 2013)

    Royal visit to the Prince of Wales Inn, Kenfig - LEARN MORE...


    John Bedford, Ironmaster (c.1720-1791)

    Born in the Midlands, England in the early 1770s John Bedford had an ambition to make the area known as 'Waun Cimla' the centre of an industrial empire. He built an ironworks, brickworks, collieries/mines & a grand house overlooking his realm. Bedford Road, Cefn Cribbwr & the Iron Works are named after him.

    The ironworks were abandoned during the mid 19th century & fell into decay. The ironworks were acquired by the former Ogwr Borough Council (now Bridgend County Borough Council) & a programme of conservation occurred between 1991-1995. Funding was provided by Ogwr Borough Council, CADW-Welsh Historic Monuments, Welsh Development Agency, Welsh Office & the European Union.

    These works have continued since the inception of Bridgend County Borough Council in 1996 with funding from the Welsh Government & in partnership with Y Cefn Gwyrth.

    The site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument of National Importance.

    The Bedford Ironworks

    The repaired stone buildings at the Bedford Ironworks (Cefn Cribbwr) are the remains of the ironworks started by John Bedford, a Birmingham businessman c.1770-1780s - they were abandoned from the mid 19th century. All the structures found are in a typical late 18th to early 19th century iron works. These include:

    1 - Calcining Kilns
    2 - Tramways
    3 - Charge House
    4 - Engine House
    5 - Blast Furnace
    6 - Cast House

    Raw materials (roasted iron ore, coke & limestone) were taken by trams & loaded into the top of the furnace. In the coke ovens, coal was partially burnt to drive off impurities. This left a tough but light porous fuel called coke. All the buildings at the same level as the coke ovens are linked by tramways which once had iron fish bellied rails to the wide gauge of 4'6". Only the stone sleeper blocks were left but a new rail & tram have been placed on the site.

    The ironmasters found that iron ores could be improved by roasting them in calcining kilns to remove impurities particularly sulphur which made brittle iron. There are 2 calcining kilns with a tramway passage between them which are also preserved.

    The main function of the charge house (a building located at the level of the top of the furnace) was to lead a tramway to the platform so that all the raw materials (roasted ore, limestone - for further purification & coke) could be loaded directly into the top of the furnace.

    The Blast Furnace

    The Blast Furnace was 32 feet (9.8m) square at the base tapering slightly with the height to rise 10.6m from the hearthstone with a wide but short circular chimney.

    This tapping (casting) arch where iron was run out was the focus of the iron-making process. To melt iron the temperature in the furnace would have to been around 1,140 degrees Centigrade.

    The inner wall & hearth is well preserved, a brick-built foundary furnace to cast iron made in another works was constructed in the tapping arch by Bedford's successor, William Bryant c. 1830-1840s.

    Air to provide the blast was pressurized in the engine house & piped to the 3 blowing arches in the sides of the furnace. The pipes ended at the tuyeres (pronounced tweers) or iron nozzles set in square openings in the inner walls of the blowing arches.

    Next to the Blast Furnace was the Cast House where the molten iron was run out into channels cut in a casting pit full of sand. These channels were likened to a sow & her piglets - hence 'Pigs' of iron. The small building attached to the east side of the cast house appears to have been used for further processing of the iron, perhaps by a smith.

    To be Continued...

    Source: Bridgend County Borough Council, Photos by Rob Bowen, Amazon.

    History of Education around Kenfig - Coming Soon
    Bryndu School, Kenfig Hill (c.1914)
    About 1857 C R M Talbot MP, of Margam Estate (Owner of Bryndu Slip Colliery) started a temporary school in colliery stables; known as Bryndu Works School. In 1860's Bryndu School was built at the end of School Road, Kenfig Hill - it was demolished in 1957.
    Throughout Kenfig & surrounding areas, leases, wills and other legal documents were being signed by local inhabitants as far back as the mid 17th century – furthermore, these signatures were not only from particularly well-to-do families that had been sent away to be educated, but from the local peoples of the area as well. In a deed dated 1659 relating to a house called Ty Mawr – now known as Haregrove farmhouse, there was mention of a room called “The Skoole”.
    Cefn Cribbwr School c.1910

    Cefn Cribbwr School

    This was built in 1894 as Cefn Cribwr Board School in a single small building on the site of its present infant section.
    In 1902 the so called 'mixed department' referred to as the 'Big School' was added; the 2 schools soon had several hundred pupils between them which became inadequate & c.1914 this original building was demolished being replaced by its present one. At that time the school motto was inscribed on the fron wall of the school - it reads... Esgyn Yw Nod Ysgol - To achieve is the aim of the school.
    The school board was abolished & Cefn became a Council School operated by the Glamorgan County Council. The school was refurbished in the 1930's with a playground & initial corridor for the 'big school' being introduced and a school canteen & central heating were added in 1957 - internal toilets were added after this date. The early Headmasters appear to have been Welsh baptists - Mr Idris Williams (Headteacher during & after WWII) was a devout Anglican being the first to break this tradition.

    Source: Cefn Cribbwr Primary School, Bridgend County Borough Council.

    History of Education around Kenfig - Coming Soon

    The History of Sport around Kenfig
    Pyle RFC 1947-48 Season
    Pyle RFC Logo

    Kenfig Hill RFC (The Mules) Logo

    The History of local Rugby & Football clubs (Past & Present)

    Cornelly United Football Team 1932-33 Season

    Kenfig / Cynffig - The Complete History

    An important part of Wales documentary Heritage
Identified by The National Library of Wales An important part of Wales documentary Heritage
Identified by The National Library of Wales website listed within Wales on the Web Curriculum Cymreig guide website listed within Wales on the Web Curriculum Cymreig guide The Sandville Self Help Centre The Sandville Self Help Centre

    Kenfig (Welsh: Cynffig)

    Sunset at Kenfig Pool
    Sker House c.1900
    Explore the history and importance of the Kenfig / Cynffig Borough - a medieval and now buried city on the South Wales coastline, United Kingdom - a location historically represented within the British governmental establishment and steeped in myth & legend.
    Learn about the history & development of the entire Kenfig and surrounding areas and its peoples throughout the ages together with viewing a unique and envious Pictorial History of the entire area exclusive here on Kenfig - The Complete History website.
    Experience local ghost stories and folklore, tales of smuggling & shipwrecks and learn of the beauty & turbulent past of Sker House together with its lovelorn maids.
    Experience what it was like during WWII throughout the entire area together with personal oral accounts from local people and from individuals both here in the UK and throughout the world who have special memories of the area and the former RAF base at Stormy Down located nearby.
    Exclusive to our Members Area are detailed oral accounts of the area from local people together with personal photographs, documents, and information donated by local peoples themselves to this website project. View our Famous People and Sporting Halls of Fame sections along with a unique local family tree section aimed at encouraging the research of these areas especially by local peoples with the overview of creating an totally unique database of the true history of the Kenfig and surrounding areas.
    Welcome to Local Community Group website
    We hope you find your visit enjoyable, informational and an enlightening experience. This website is a long-term, ongoing resource for learning about local history around the Kenfig and surrounding areas.
    Location Guide
    Locate Kenfig and its buried city together with a host of other important local travel and tourist Information... Location Guide
    Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) - Raising an Awareness to PSP PSP - Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (The PSP Association) Learn More

    A 21st Century online Educational Resource

    Welsh Assembly Government Bridgend County Borough Council

    National Library of Wales
    Kenfig Castle

    A Government Sponsored Project

    Welcome to Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)
    Founded in March 2003 Learn more.. [ Community Organisation] this online website project documents the entire factual history of the old Kenfig Borough / old Bro Cynffig from pre-historic times to the present day providing a comprehensive digital documentary of life in South Wales. The website has undergone an extensive new look with improved usability/navigation together with containing more specialist information on the Kenfig area that should be accessible across all Internet & mobile web browsing platforms. Learn more.. [ Internet Technology] Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) was founded by Rob Bowen [Biography - Rob Bowen]

    This website project is operated as a not for profit organisation which is part sponsored by the Welsh Assembly Government & Bridgend County Borough Council and which has kindly recieved grant funding through BAVO (Bridgend Association of Voluntary Organisations) for the purchase of computer equipment to enable us to develop, design & manage this website.
    This website has been granted Heritage Status by the National Library of Wales and is being archived for posterity through both the National Library of Wales and the UK Web Archive ( Kenfig - The Complete History) which is provided by the British Library. This website is also listed as an online educational resource that can be used for the teaching of local history that forms a part of the Curriculum Cymreig in Wales. Our website aims are to provide a World Class online Educational Resource that will aide both the Nations Heritage and Education network in Wales.
    The website currently attracts around 2.1 million worldwide visitors per year and is used by Schools, Colleges, Universities & Government Educational Departments around the world.
    Rob Bowen - Chair/Author/Webmaster - Rob Bowen (Author)
    BAVO (Bridgend Association of Voluntary Organisations)

    Tide Timetable - Porthcawl 2015

    DECEMBER 2015

    Whole Year *Tide Time Tables (Porthcawl 2015)
    LATEST UPDATES: January (full month); February (full month), March (full month), April (full month), May (full month), June (full month),
    July (full month), August (full month), September (full month), October (full month), November (full month), December (full month)











    Tide Timetables 2015

    Courtesy: National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool. Copyright Reserved © Time Zone: BST - High Tide = larger number in meters



    The Kenfig Heritage Project

    Documenting Kenfig's Rich & Colourful History Digitally Since 2003
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    We are continually striving to improve this website's usability & navigation together with making its information more accessible across all Internet & Mobile Web Browsing Platforms.
    We are continually adding more content to this website & entrust the updating of the website will not interfere too much with the viewing of this site in general - Website Management Team.

    Curriculum Cymreig


    Details where information on this website can be used especially by local schools in the Bridgend County Borough for the teaching of local history that forms a part of the Curriculum Cymreig will be listed here in the near future.


    The Curriculum Cymreig is apart of the curriculum that is special to Wales. It is designed to reflect the history, geography and culture of Wales and your locality. The Curriculum Cymreig helps develop:
    • a sense of place and heritage
    • a sense of belonging
    • an awareness of the importance of language and literature in the history and life of Wales
    • an understanding of the creative and expressive arts in Wales

    Curriculum Cymreig :: e-Resources

    The National Library of Wales aims to direct users to Internet resources within Wales on the Web that maybe of use to the teaching of the Curriculum Cymreig and to schools in general. The website has been vetted for its suitability and hence has been included within the Wales on the Web Curriculum Cymreig guide.

    Local History Curriculum Guide

    Calendar - Local Events 2012



    The Cyhiraeth

    The Cyhiraeth is a ghostly wailing and shrieking sound - this brings fear to all who hear it. It's a certain harbinger of a coming storm or wreck.

    Spectre on a White Horse

    A spectre on a white horse - if this is encountered on a night of a new moon, the beholder has the certainty of a dreadful end before 12 months have passed.

    The Bottomless Pool

    In 1857 a story was told in the kenfig area of an Evan Lewis who attempted to cross Kenfig Pool in a horse and carriage. The wheels of the coach snagged in the remains of the old town beneath the waters, and man, horse and carriage disappeared and were never more seen.
    Inquest records and the parish registers show that in 1837 thirteen year old Evan Lewis was drowned in kenfig Pool on 2 September whilst washing a coach elonging to his master. His body was buried two days later.

    Sker House

    The spectre of the ill-fated Maid of Sker frequently appeared in an upstairs room, wherein she was said to have been confined by her father. Her appearances are supposed to have been accompanied by the clanking of chains and other curious phenomena.
    R.D.Blackmore's Maid of Sker also featured a ghostly apparition, this time in the guise of a monk. "Abbots walk" within Sker house was the home of a quarrelsome fellow who fell out with his Holy brethren and came to an untimely end. His spectre groans in the middle of the night.

    The Tolaeth...

    The Cyhiraeth sometimes brought the "Tolaeth", another sound, less frightening but more ghostly. This was the noise a carpenter would hear at night after making a coffin when nobody else was in his workshop but himself. It's associated with the sound of hammering.

    The Ghost of Pyle Church

    Visiting Pyle Church on All Hallows Eve you will hear the ghost relating incidents which were to happen during the ensuing year. It commenced by reciting a list of parishioners who were destined to die during the year. Then followed the names of those to be married. It is still a mystery of whether young men would secretly enter the church to make the announcements or whether so great was the superstition of the local people many would implicitly believe it was a ghost.

    Gwyneth and Owen

    This tale is from the medieval period when Owen, who was a novice at Margam Abbey, had the misfortune to fall in love with a local girl named Gwyneth, the grand-daughter of a sorceress named Maud living in Cwm Kenfig.
    The couple had a regular meeting place near the banks of the river Kenfig, but one day their tryst was brought to an abrupt end by a sudden and violent storm. As the couple struggled to find shelter they got hopelessly lost and above the raging of the storm and the roar of the swollen river, heard the frightful screams of the Gwrach Y Rhibyn (Hag of the Mist) mocking the futility of their efforts to reach safety.
    All who heard the cry of the Hag knew that some dire misfortune awaited them.
    As night fell the doomed couple struggled on, but a demon known as the Torrent Spectre appeared and swept the two into the swollen waters of the river Kenfig. Later the same night fishermen at Sker were disturbed to hear the eerie keening of the Cyhiraeth whose cry was said to herald the arrival of a corpse on the beach.
    As dawn broke it was to reveal the bodies of the two lovers lying on the sands clasped in one another's arms.

    Bwci Bo

    The field on the north side of Pyle Church, now occupied by a small private housing estate, was once known as "Puckwall".
    The name probably dervives from the English sprite Puck, which in turn perhaps originates from the Welsh "Bwca" or "Bwci Bo". It was believed that Bwci Bo was a goblin or elf who haunted certain farmhouses and if well fed with milk left out for him at night, would help with the housework whilst the good people slept.
    If he were spied upon or ill-treated in anyway, he would bring ill luck to the house and find a new abode for himself. He was sometimes known as "Bwca'r Trwyn" from his long nose, which differentiates him from the button-nosed Puck of English legend.

    A Skeleton from Our Past...

    The location of the church of St.James that served the former town of Kenfig buried beneath the sand dunes is thought to be approximately 300 yards south of the remains of Kenfig Castle. The basis for this if from various finds of human bones in the dunes.
    One such discovery at the begining of the 20th century is recorded in the book "Annals of South Glamorgan" by Marianne Robertson Spencer, published in 1913.
    The graveyard of the old church is buried under the sands and numbers of coffinless skeletons have been found there from time to time - these exposed by the shifting sands.
    Not so very long ago, some boys coming over the sand dunes early one morning and crossing the old burial place found an entire skeleton resting on the sub-soil from which the sand had just been blown. There was no sign of any coffin and every bone was in place... The remains were taken up and interred in the present grave yard.

    Kenfig Pool - Vengence is coming!

    A local chieftain wronged and wounded a Prince and the latter, with his dying breath, pronounced a curse against the wrongdoer. The curse was forgotten until one night the decendants of the chieftain heard a fearful cry; "Dial a ddaw! Dial a ddaw!" (Vengence is coming!).
    At first it passed unnoticed, but when the cry was repeated night after night, the owner of Kenfig asked the domestic bard what it meant. The bard repeated the old story of revenge, however this was dismissed and a great feast was undertaken with music and song.
    In the midst of the carousal the fearful warning cry was repeatedly heard, and suddenly the earth trembled and water rushed into the place.
    Before anybody could escape, the town of Kenfig, with its palace, houses and people was swallowed up and only a deep dark lake or pool remains to mark the scene of the disaster. In the early part of the nineteenth century traces of the masonary could be seen and felt with grappling irons in the pool...



    The Porthcawl Branch


    Map of Porthcawl Branch & associated lines
    Map of Porthcawl Branch & associated lines
    Source & Photos: D.S.Barrie/British Railways, The Railway Magazine (March 1954)
    Site of former passenger station at Porthcawl (looking towards Pyle)
    Site of former passenger station at Porthcawl (looking towards Pyle)
    Porthcawl railway station looking towards buffer stops
    Porthcawl railway station looking towards buffer stops
    Porthcawl stands on a low headland at the far edge of a series of small bays to the west of the mouth of the river Ogmore and a few miles below the sourthern outcrop of the South Wales coalfield.
    The railway that served Porthcawl was notable for it was owned by 5 successful undertakings and at various times embodied 3 different gauges.
    Porthcawl was the obvious choice for a harbour when in the early 19th century the development of the iron & coal industries along the Cefn Cribbwr ridge and at Maesteg in the Llynfi Valley created the demand for a shipping outlet.

    The Tramroad

    The creation of the Duffryn Llynfi & Porthcawl Railway Company in June 1825 (Read more... ) was a tramroad having rails spiked direct to stone blocks & reputedly constructed to the unusual gauge of 4ft 7in with its starting point at Dyffryn Llynvi about 1 ½ miles north of Maesteg.
    This tramroad crossed Maesteg from the east to the west bank of the river Llynfi then passed down the valley through Troedyrhiw, Garth and Tondu where it followed the north side of Cefn Cribbwr before passing round the west flank of Kenfig Hill to Pyle, Cornelly and Porthcawl.
    The total length was 16¾ miles in which there was a fall of 490 feet giving an overall average gradient of 1 in 180 descending towards the sea.
    The tramroad is reputed to have been opened for horse-drawn traffic in 1829 and 5 years later became connected from Park Slip (west of Tondu) to the town of Bridgend (about 4 miles south eastwards) by another horse-worked tramroad known as the Bridgend Railway.
    Porthcawl branch platforms of Tondu Station May 1949
    Porthcawl branch platforms of Tondu Station May 1949
    With the development of industry and traffic the Llynfi Valley Railway Company was incorporated in 1846 & took over the Porthcawl tramroad in 1847 and the Bridgend Railway in 1854.
    in 1855 a further Act was obtained authorising the conversion of both the Porthcawl & Bridgend tramroads into locomotive-worked broad gauge railways connecting at Bridgend with the South Wales Railway which was opened to Swansea in 1850.
    To be continued...

    This section to be Continued in full... together with Exclusive Coverage of First Great Western Schools Rail Safety Initiative which was launched on Friday 06 July 2012 at Ysgol yr Ferch o'r Sger School in North Cornelly.

    ... First Great Western Schools Rail Safety Initiative
    First Great Western Schools Rail Safety Initiative
    First Great Western Schools Rail Safety Initiative

    First Great Western Schools Rail Safety Initiative will be visiting schools throughout the Kenfig & surrounding areas delivering a powerful safety message aimed at school children and rail safety in general. This website will not only be documenting the history of local railways but also helping to promote this unique & informative rail safety message for all to learn from. is pleased to announce that it has exclusive & 1st hand coverage of all these school visits.

    The schools rail safety initiative was launched by Geraint Llewellyn, a local high speed train driver in July 2012 after a near-miss with two children sitting on the railway tracks at Briton Ferry; the project has the full backing of First Great Western, British Transport Police, local Councillors, South Wales AM's & the Welsh Government and has already been heavily covered by the Press & Media including the BBC & ITV News networks together with local & national Radio/Newspapers.

    Further Information -



    The Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl

    Brief History

    Perspective view of Grand Pavilion 1931
    Perspective view of Grand Pavilion 1931
    Source & Photos: Keith E Morgan, The Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl
    Construction of Grand Pavilion 1931
    Construction of Grand Pavilion 1931
    Construction of Grand Pavilion Octagonal Dome 1932
    Construction of Grand Pavilion Octagonal Dome 1932
    Official Opening of Grand Pavilion 08 Aug 1932
    Official Opening of Grand Pavilion 08 Aug 1932
    The Grand Pavilion was built on a piece of land known as 'Brogden's Field' by the Porthcawl Urban District Council & was the brainchild of Cllr Russell Mabley JP. The building was designed by architect E.J.E.Moore on 07 Dec 1931 being fabled to have been based on a similar styled building in Singapore. The cutting of the 1st sod was on 9 Oct 1931 when the site was cleared & foundations began. By early 1932 its structure had taken shape & work started on the erection of the ferrous concrete octagonal dome.
    Due to the importance of the use of ferrous concrete in the construction of the dome, the Grand Pavilion was given a Grade II listed status in 1998. The Grand Pavilion & Winter Gardens were built at a cost of £25,000.00 - The 2-faced clock situated atop the front facade of the building is known as the Queen Alexandra Memorial Clock & was erected by public subscription.
    The Grand Pavilion celebrates its 80th birthday today & is operated by Bridgend County Borough Council's Arts & Culture Service.


    Local Boxing - Sporting Hall of Fame

    Local Boxing Sporting Hall of Fame - Peter Delbridge
    Local Boxing Sporting Hall of Fame - Peter Delbridge
    Photo: Lyn Smith, MCK Newsletter Team 2004

    Peter Delbridge (born Pyle 07/12/1934)

    Peter Delbridge was born in Pyle and boxed between 1959 & 1962 in 20 Professional contests.
    He started boxing at the age of 13 at Pyle Amateur Boxing Club. At 18 years of age he was the N.C.B. Flyweight Champion, at 19 N.C.B. Bantamweight Champion and at 20 N.C.B. Featherweight Champion. He fought all the top amateurs in Europe at those weights and in 1956 was voted top boxer in Wales.
    At the age of 25 he turned professional and boxed for a further 4 years in about 200 matches.
    He worked in the Steel Works in Port Talbot for 22 years.
    He played darts around the local pubs & clubs as well as coaching youngsters at Porthcawl A.B.C.
    Source: Lyn Smith, MCK Newsletter Team 2004

    Ron Cooper (born Kenfig Hill 05/02/1928)

    Welsh Middleweight Champion. Details coming soon...

    Bryn Lewis (born Porthcawl 22/12/1943)

    Welsh Lightweight Champion. Details coming soon...

    External Links:

    Ron Cooper Biography WELSH WARRIORS
    Bryn Lewis Biography WELSH WARRIORS is not responsible for the content and/or accuracy of external website links
    A-Z of Sports (Around Kenfig & Surrounding Areas)... Coming Soon
    New THE COAST - HISTORY - ON THIS DAY (23 April 1947)

    The Samtampa / Edward Prince of Wales Lifeboat Tragedy

    The Samtampa - Sker Rocks
    Frontpage local newspaper coverage of Tragedy
    The Samtampa - Sker Rocks

    The Samtampa

    On this day, 23 April in 1947 (69 years ago) one of the worst maritime disasters in living memory along the South Wales coastline happened. The Samtampa cargo ship with all 39 crew along with all 8 Lifeboatmen of Edward Prince of Wales Lifeboat from Mumbles perished on the rocks at Sker in attrocious weather conditions. The Samtampa was broken into 3 parts - the Mumbles Lifeboat found smashed and upside down on the rocks.

    The Tragedy

    The Samtampa, a former Liberty Ship, was on a voyage from Middlesborugh to Newport, in ballast. A strong westerly gale was in progress when she entered the Bristol Channel where the ship developed an engine fault. It was decided by her Captain, H. Neale Sherwell to drop anchor in Swansea Bay to carry out repairs to the engine. The weather was deteriating by the minute and at 4.38pm the starboard anchor chain parted and 12 minutes later the port cable snapped. The Samtampa was taken eastwards in the hurricane force winds and within 20 minutes she was on the rocky ledges near Sker Point.

    The Mumbles Lifeboat

    EDWARD, PRINCE OF WALES was launched just after 6pm to go to the rescue. William Gammon, who had been Lifeboat Coxswain for 7 years, was at the helm of the lifeboat as they headed across Swansea bay to Sker.
    At the same time the Porthcawl Coastguards and rocket team were attempting to get a line to the wreck from the shore. The wind speed was said to have been in excess of 100 mph and in less than 5 minutes of the Samtampa hitting the rocks she started to break up.
    Around 2 hours later she was a total wreck, the 10m waves having broken her into large pieces. The rocket apparatus became ineffective due to the extreme high winds and a line out to the stricken vessel failed. It is said that some of the rockets were driven back so far by the ferrocious wind that they landed in fields behind the rocket operators themselves.
    All crew of the Samtampa were drowned - the full disaster was realised by the morning of 24 April. The Mumbles Lifeboat had failed to return, and instead was found smashed upside down on Sker Rocks. When the town of Mumbles, Swansea learned of the news, the whole town was in mourning.

    The Crew of S.S. Samtampa

    25 of the crew of the Samtampa were from the North East of England. 10 of whom were from Middlesbrough, 4 from Whitby, 2 each from Stockton, Redcar and Staithes and 1 each from South Bank, Skelton, Bishop Auckland, West Hartlepool and Thornaby.

    In Memory of all who perished on that fateful day

    Samtampa Memorial - Sker Rocks
    To the Memory of the Captain And the thirty eight Crew Members Of the Freighter S.S. SAMTAMPA Who perished on these rocks In the Great Storm of April 23rd 1947, And of the Cox'n and Crew of Seven of the Mumbles Lifeboat, "EDWARD PRINCE OF WALES" Who lost their lives in their valiant rescue attempt. This Plaque marks the final Resting place of The Mumbles Lifeboat.
    Memorial - final resting place of Lifeboat on Sker Rocks (GPS coordinates- SS79177941)

    The Samtampa

    Cargo Steamship
    Port of Registry:
    Official Number:
    Previous Name:
    7219 tons gross
    1943, Portland, US
    423 feet
    57 feet
    Date of Sinking:
    23 April 1947
    Sker Rocks, Glamorgan

    Edward, Prince of Wales

    RNLI Motor Watson Lifeboat
    Official Number:
    RNLI 678
    16 tons
    1924, Cowes
    45 feet
    12 feet
    Date of Sinking:
    23 April 1947 On Service
    Sker Rocks, Glamorgan

    Related Links

    Mumbles Lifeboat Crew Remembered
    Stained Glass Window, All Saints Church, Oystermouth, Swansea
    Lifeboat Disaster Photo Found
    A forgotten photo of the widows of the 8-strong Mumbles Lifeboat Crew which turned up in a shack in Alaska. Read about this remarkable story.
    Mumbles Lifeboat
    Learn the history of the Mumbles Lifeboat Station and its crew.
    Board of Trade Wreck Report
    No. 7946 SS Samtampa - The Merchant Shipping Act, 1894. Report of Court on the formal investigation of the wreck of SS Samtampa held at the Guildhall, Swansea on the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th days of August 1947.
    Pathe News
    Views of Sherman tank, various shots of the Samtampa wreck & of Fred Winstanley and workmates using oxyacetylene apparatus to dismember sections of wreck - the tank was used for towing the sections over the beach.

    The Crew of S.S.Samtampa - We Remember these gallant sailors

    William Mensworth (35)

    Ship's Fireman - served in the war on a munition ship torpedoed in a Russian convoy.

    R Weatherill (29)

    Donkeyman of 6 Sayers yard, Whitby, married with two children, served in Royal Navy during war as a petty officer.

    Arthur Callighan (30)

    Donkeyman greaser, of North Ormesby was in the Merchant Navy from the beginning of the war.

    Ralph Chester (17)

    Deck boy, was on his third trip since joining the Merchant Navy. He was at home for his 17th birthday and his brother's wedding on Easter Monday.

    Joseph Griffiths (24)

    Assistant cook, was on his second trip since his return to the Merchant Navy. He married a South Bank girl only seven weeks previous. He had been a prisoner of war in Japan for 3½ years.

    Harry Garside (23)

    He was on his first voyage in the Merchant navy less than a year after leaving the Royal Navy, he was married but no children.

    John Strangeway (22)

    Assistant Steward - had been at sea since he was 15.

    L F Davidson (24)

    Able seaman, a single man, he had been in the Merchant Navy since he was 15.

    Donald Hill (26)

    Able seaman, during the war he served for six years in the Royal Navy and was in the first flotilla of minesweepers which swept the way for the invasion force on D-day.

    Charles Frederick Shinner (20)

    Was on his fifth voyage, previously he had worked at Dorman Long's and taken a prominent part in local athletics.

    H Lees (24)

    Came from a seafaring family, his home was formerly at Birkenhead, he was married with two children.

    Patrick McKenna (47)

    Went back to sea after an absence of 20 years because he could not get over his wife's death, it was his first voyage.

    George Webster (21)

    Fireman - made his first sea trip to Normandy on D-day.

    Joseph Gilraine (22)

    Had just recovered from yellow jaundice and his widowed mother did not want him to make the trip.

    Francis Cannon (30)

    Donkeyman greaser the son of a sailor. His father, was on a voyage, lost another son at sea during the war.

    Arnold Nicholson (19)

    Galley boy - had been at sea for nearly four years. He was a well known member of Redcar Literary Institute and this was his fourth trip.

    Joseph Croft (19)

    Assistant steward went to sea almost straight from school, his mother thought he would give it up after the war but 'it was in his blood.'

    James John Bell (29)

    Boatswain - he lost two brothers also at sea in the war.

    Isaac Longster (35)

    Able seaman - he lost two brothers at sea during the war.

    J Thompson (32)

    John T Souter Jnr

    Ordinary seaman.

    K K Richardson

    Second engineer.

    Stanley Daritis (19)

    Ordinary seaman.

    William John Davis (53)

    Able seaman.

    C Jackson (32)

    Ship's carpenter.

    Names of other men who were not signed on in Middlesborough

    Capt H N Sherwell, D Lowe(First officer), G L Murray(Second officer), P MarshallL(Third officer), W E Thompson(Radio officer), W A Atkinson(Chief engineer), J Riley(Third engineer), B McDonald(Fourth engineer).

    Other members of crew

    P Allam(Chief steward), R N Lythel(Second steward), B Jones(Chief cook)


    J Ellis, P Ferns, J Wilson
    UK-NORTHEAST-L Archives (Evening Gazette, Thursday 24th April 1947), Pauline Gregg (York UK), Researching: Brown, Searle, Olvanhill, Gregory, Huskinson (all Middlesbrough area)

    The Lifeboat Crew Remembered :: Edward, Prince of Wales

    William Gammon - Coxswain
    William Gammon - Coxswain
    William Noel - Second Coxswain
    William Noel - Second Coxswain
    Ernest Griffin - Mechanic
    Ernest Griffin - Mechanic
    William Lewis Howell - Mechanic
    William Lewis Howell - Mechanic
    William Davies - Mechanic
    William Davies - Mechanic
    W R S Thomas - Mechanic
    W R S Thomas - Mechanic
    W R Thomas - Mechanic
    W R Thomas - Mechanic
    R Smith - Mechanic
    R Smith - Mechanic
    Images: / Glamorgan Gazette

    Croes Y Ddadl (Cross of Dispute)

    Background - Location near to Maudlam Cross

    Base of Croes Y Ddadl (Cross of Dispute)
    The base of this cross stands almost completely buried by sand in the dunes a little north east of the crossroads formed by the junction of Heol Fach (North Cornelly) with the road from Marlas to Maudlam near Maudlam Cross; this was once a trackway which crossed Mont Mawr near Maudlam Cross. The cross itself has long disappeared but its socketed base (a moulded Sutton block) is still visible. It presumably marks the original site of this crossroads which has been 'pushed' inland away from it by the advancing sand - its name seems to imply that it was originally a place used by local people as a meeting point at which differences and disputes between them could be settled.

    Historical Information - The Kenfig Charters c.1397

    Croes y Ddadl or the Cross of Debate is referred to in Thomas le Despenser's Charter to the Kenfig burgesses c.1397 where its called Taddulcrosse. Tradition has it that minor differences between the burgesses were thrashed out there, a belief that might have some glimmer of truth as crosses played an important part in the lives of the peoples in medieval days which were objects of veneration and when set up in market places, traders were aware of their presence & conducted their business in an honourable fashion.

    Turnpike Trust Dispute - 1843

    The Croes y Ddadl was centre of serious deliberation on 26 October 1843 when a crowd of over 500 angry local farmers & freeholders assembled there to protest against the burdens imposed by the toll-gates set up by the Bridgend Trust. After a heated discussion, Jehosophat Powell of Eglwysnunydd was chosen to present a petition to the Trust requesting the removal of the gates at Redhill, Pyle (Stormy Down) and Taibach, Port Talbot. The disputes arose that merchants were attempting to bypass the Borough Markets by utilzing the Pont Velin Newydd crossing (Water Street). As documented in the Swansea Journal of 01 November 1843, there were 2 trouble spots at Pyle - these were:
    Toll bar set up in 1834 above the old Dyffryn Llynfi Railway
    Toll gate placed at Pyle Cross in 1840 to exact tolls from people using the parish road to Maudlam
    In addition to this a chain was placed across the main road running from Bridgend to Aberavon.
    Source: Bridgend Library & Information Services, The Story of Kenfig (A.Leslie Evans)

    Local Archaeological Finds

    History - General - Archaeology (Roman Coin found near Kenfig in 2011)


    The above coin was found near the Roman coastal road 'Julia Maritima' (Water Street) not far from Kenfig in 2011, the person who found the coin wishes to remain anonymous, however, the coin was verified for its authenticity by the National Museum of Wales in 2011. We were privilaged to be able to take photographs of the coin which appear here courtesy of its finder. The following information was kindly supplied by the National Museum of Wales
    The coin is a radiate and of (late) 3rd century AD date, the emperor is Probus (276-82) and it was minted in Antioch, in modern day Turkey.
    The reverse inscription reads: 'CLEMENTIA TEMP' and it depicts the emperor receiving a globe from Jupiter.

    The Kenfig Ordinances (Bye-Laws)

    Prince of Wales Inn, Kenfig (The Town Hall)
    Kenfig Castle
    The ancient medieval town of Kenfig's bye-laws or Ordinances make for interesting reading at the beginning of the 21st century as they reflect the customs of that point in time together with the pattern of life within medieval Kenfig showing it to be a well regulated community. A copy of the Kenfig Ordinances that were drawn up & revised dates from c.1330 - these would have been made by the Portreeve or chief municipal officer & his aldermen at Kenfig.

    Bakers, Brewers & Tanners

    The town's bakers who were licenced by the Portreeve were ordered to bake wholesome bread of a standard weight fixed by the corporation 'on pain of grevious amerciament (fine) and further punishments provided by his Majesty's laws & statues for such heinous and intolerable offences. Similar ordinances applied to brewers and tanners.


    Butchers were forbidden to sell meat on Sundays or to slaughter or scald animals in the High Street; if they were burgesses they had to conduct their business under the town shambles. Non-resident butchers could only conduct business on Fridays & Saturdays.

    Fighting or Brawling

    Brawlers in the town who drew blood were to be amerced 3s.4d. for the offence with additional fines for the affray at the Portreeve's pleasure.


    To ensure a measure of sanitation butchers were fined for casting heads & feet of animals and any other offal into the High Street or elsewhere in the town.

    Latest News: Channel 4 Time Team episode was broadcast on Sunday 18 March 2012 - the episode is now available on Channel 4oD online at Channel 4oD online - Time Team at Kenfig

    The Buried Medieval Town of Kenfig - 3 day Archaeological Dig (August 2011) - View Time Team Visit to Kenfig

    The Channel 4 Time Team spent 3 days at Kenfig (Wed 10/Thu 11/Fri 12 August 2011) on an archaeological dig/filming expedition to locate the medieval buried town of Kenfig in the sand near Kenfig Castle. This section on Kenfig's website is aimed at documenting Channel 4 Time Team's actual visit to Kenfig in 2011 as this website project is being archived for posterity through both the National Library of Wales & British Library.

    EXPLORE TIME TEAM AT KENFIG - Learn about Time Team, cross-referenced information on Kenfig town's history, Live Time Team Twitter News Feed, photos of day 3 and Official embedded Time Team video footage from YouTube.

    New CHANNEL 4 TIME TEAM AT KENFIG - View Time Team Visit to Kenfig

    Channel 4 Time Team at Kenfig - View Here

    The Dyffryn Llynfi & Porthcawl Railway c.1825-1860

    The Dyffryn Llynfi & Porthcawl Railway c.1825-1860
    Dyffryn Llynfi & Porthcawl Railway
    Signal Box, South Cornelly
    Signal Box, South Cornelly
    Horse drawn coal dram
    Horse-drawn coal dram
    Seal of the Duffryn Llynvi & Porthcawl Railway Company
    Seal of the Duffryn Llynvi & Porthcawl Railway Company


    Built between 1825 and 1829, The Dyffryn Llynfi & Porthcawl Railway connected a new harbour built at Porthcawl with iron works that had sprung up further inland at Cefn Cribbwr, Aberkenfig and Maesteg.
    The railway covered a total distance of 16¾ miles descending some 490 feet from its starting point near Caerau, Maesteg. Designed for horse-drawn traffic it was a single track line with passing places and was built to a 4ft 6inch gauge with the rails fixed to stone blocks rather than wooden sleepers so as to leave a clear path between which horses and handlers could walk along.
    A time-table dating from 1855 shows that it took 6¼ hours to travel from the terminus in the valley to Porthcawl and that the return trip was about 2¼ hours longer.
    The trains brought iron and coal to the coast for export to worldwide destinations and on the return trip stopped at South Cornelly to collect lime for use at the iron works. As lime was an effective fertilizer, several farmers in the Maesteg area with arrangement with the railway company, operated their own trams on the line to collect supplies for their own use.


    Map of Kenfig Hill area
    Map of Kenfig Hill area
    Passenger traffic started on the line as early as 1836 and became increasingly important when the track was converted to use by steam trains in 1861 making Porthcawl a popular destination for day trippers and holiday makers alike. This section of line from Porthcawl to Cefn Cribbwr junction remained operational until the 1960's when it was closed as a result of the Beeching Act.
    At south Cornelly where a lane crossed the railway by a manned level crossing - the former gate keeper's house still survives as a modernised private dwelling whilst opposite it stands the former local public house known as The Three Horse Shoes (Originally called The Horse and Tram).
    The public house fronted onto the railway and offered welcome refreshment for hauliers working the line before setting off on the long return journey back to Maesteg. This public house is now a private residence.
    Last section of the Tramroad Track still in position at Porthcawl Pier
    Last section of the Tramroad Track at Porthcawl

    Read more... coming soon

    Source: Bridgend Library & Information Serices, The Kenfig Hill & District Music & Art Society
    New ON THIS DAY - 28 FEBRUARY 1537

    Margam Abbey - (c.1147-1536)

    Margam Abbey (c.1147-1536)
    Margam Abbey c.1147-1536
    On this day in 1537 (477 years ago) Margam Abbey was surrendered to King Henry VIII under the Dissolution of the Monastries Act.

    Historical Background

    Margam Abbey - Reconstruction (A.Leslie Evans)
    Founded in 1147 by Robert, Earl of Gloucester, Margam Abbey was a Cistercian Abbey of the Mother House Clairvaux - its dissolution came about in 1536 and was the first abbey to fall under the Dissolution of the Monastries by King Henry VIII. The Abbey is dedicated to St Mary the Virgin and dates from the 2nd half of 12th century. There is no documentary evidence relating to Margam prior to the arrival of the Normans, however, carved & inscribed monuments nearby indicate an earlier Christian presence. The Abbey is believed to have been built on or near the site of an important Celtic monastic house.

    History of Margam Abbey - Read more...Coming soon

    Religion throughout the Kenfig & Surrounding Areas
    Kenfig Calvinistic Methodist Sunday School at Prince of Wales Inn, Kenfig  c.1950's
    Kenfig Calvinistic Methodist Sunday School at Prince of Wales Inn, Kenfig c.1950's

    The Sunday School

    Formed by Mr & Mrs Richard Bowen c.1863 together with Mr Evan Howell, Mr Edmund Thomas & Mr William Rees. Initially the Sunday School was held at Mr & Mrs Bowen's house at Ton Kenfig but transferred to the upstairs hall at the Prince of Wales Inn, Kenfig. The sunday school was held at this location up until recent years. The average attendance in 1963 was 40 pupils when the school celebrated its centenary. A record 75 pupils attended the school in August 1923.

    HISTORY - GENERAL - RELIGION ( Learn more... )

    Learn about the history of local Churches & Chapels & other religious centres together with Sunday Schools, Religious Events/Celebrations, Parish Records and more including Interactive Maps outlining burial plots at various locations, this section aims to help those tracing family tree information throughout the area.

    Cefn Cribbwr

    Siloam Chapel

    Siloam Chapel, Cefn Cribbwr c.1910
    Built in 1827, this was the first chapel to be built in Cefn Cribbwr. It is the oldest of the six places of worship in the village. It is located at the top of Bedford Road and is set back off the road itself. The present day chapel is not the original as the structure was rebuilt in 1855. It is a large structure with a cemetery to the front and rear. The original congregation were Welsh speakers, many of whom were local miners.

    Kenfig Hill

    St Theodore's Church & Vicarage

    St Theodore's Church & Vicarage, Kenfig Hill
    The Vicarage was born out of the vision & inspiration of Rev. Joshua Pritchard Hughes and was known locally as 'Bryn Eglwys' which was probably erected in 1882 before the church of St Theodore's alongside was built in 1889. It didn't become a vicarage until 1923 when Kenfig Hill became a Parish in its own right - the building was demolished in 2007 for the development of housing after serving its community for over 125 years. St Theodore's Church was supported & built by the Talbot Family of the Margam Estate and was named in honouring CRM Talbot's only son & heir who had died following a riding accident in June 1876. More... St Theodore's Church & Vicarage, Kenfig Hill
    Pisgah Chapel, Kenfig Hill (founded c.1836)
    Pisgah Chapel, Kenfig Hill
    Pisgah Chapel, Kenfig Hill
    Twyn Cottage, Water Street - where early baptists worshiped
    Twyn Cottage, Water Street
    The Second Chapel 1857-1913
    The Second Chapel 1857-1913

    Pisgah Baptist Chapel (Founded c.1836)

    Pisgah Chapel, Kenfig Hill (founded c.1836) - The 1st Chapel opened Christmas Day 1836, 2nd Christmas Day 1857 & the 3rd present day building on 30 April 1913. Early Baptists worshiped at Twyn Cottage, Water Street, Caegarw Farm & Pwllygath Barn, Kenfig Hill before the chapel(s) were built. A Famous visitor was Pastor Niemoller (former German U-Boat Commander in WWI).
    This section contains the history of the chapel together with an Interactive map of Pisgah Chapel graveyard & an alphabetical burials listing that will aide local Genealogy Studies together with the Kenfig Heritage Website Project Family Tree section.

    Pisgah Chapel, Kenfig Hill (founded c.1836)

    Tracing your Family Tree around Kenfig? Visit

    Interactive Map: Burial Plots & Monumental Inscriptions - Pisgah Chapel, Kenfig Hill
    Interactive Map: Burial Plots
    Alphabetical Burials Listing - Pisgah Chapel, Kenfig Hill
    Alphabetical Burials Listing

    HISTORY - GENERAL - RELIGION: Pisgah Chapel, Kenfig Hill (founded c.1836)

    North & South Cornelly (sub-manors of the ancient borough of Kenfig)
    Ty Maen, South Cornelly
    Ty Maen, South Cornelly

    South Cornelly - Brief History

    South Cornelly came into being as an Anglo-Norman settlement in the second half of the 12th century. It is the 'original' Cornelly, though a document of the time indicates that it narrowly escaped being known as 'Thomastown' after Thomas son of William who was an early Lord of the Manor here. His descendants subsequently adopted the name 'De Cornelly' and their house is believed to have stood where the mansion called Ty Maen stands behind high walls on the main road through the village.
    The earliest elements of the present building date from around 1650 and it incorporates many unusual features. Above the main door is carved the war cry of the Knights Templar ( Non Nobis Domine, Non Nobis) whilst a pane of glass in one of the windows depicts a coat of arms believed to be those of Bishop Law of Carlisle - neither he nor the Templars are known to have any connections with this locality. A Priest's hole was discovered in an upstairs bedroom concealed behind an old cupboard. The site of the old church was in a field where the present day house 'Meadowrise' is located which stood by the wall nearlest the road opposite Ty Maen House.

    Lamb Row (Rhes Yr Oen)

    Lamb Row, South Cornelly
    Lamb Row, South Cornelly
    Lamb Row was the original main street which led from the main road up to the small medieval chapel at the foot of a rocky outcrop. Legend has it that the chapel was connected to Ty Maen by an underground passage - the chapel was dedicated to a Breton saint named Cornelius from which the village took its name. The chapel was turned in to a cottage but now is a forlorn ruin in the garden of a private house.
    Not apparent when seen from the village, the entire back of the hill against which the chapel stood has been quarried away over the past two centuries to supply lime for the iron and steel industry. It was one of several such limeworks in the area and in the past South Cornelly and the surrounding countryside were perpetually coated with light grey dust from the quarries and kilns.

    North Cornelly - Brief History

    Cornelly Cross
    Cornelly Cross
    Originally a sub manor of the Kenfig Borough which lay outside the boundaries of the Borough itself, its earliest holders were the Lupellus family who later adopted the name Lovel. The earliest recorded name of the village from a document that dates from before 1183 is the rather cumbersome 'The Vill of Walter Lupellus'. The name Cornelly arose probably due to its close proximity to the crossroads (Cornelly Cross) where the road to the original village of Cornelly (Present South Cornelly) branched off from the main road. The village adjoining the Cornelly junction therefore became known by that name and 'North' and 'South' were added to distinguish between the two.

    North Cornelly Cross

    Once known as Croes y Green, this crossroads which stands at the heart of modern-day North Cornelly has been here for well over 700 years. The original village lay some distance away from the cross to the north east in the area between the manor house (Hall Farm) and the present day New House Inn. A blacksmith's shop was built on North Cornelly Cross about 1738 which continued in use until the early part of the 20th century.
    Hall Farm North Cornelly
    Hall Farm North Cornelly

    Hall Farm - The Hall Manor

    Map of Kenfig / Pyle District (A. Leslie Evans)
    Map of Kenfig / Pyle District (A. Leslie Evans)
    This house in North Cornelly was built by Roger Gramus in 1245AD and preserves features of the Tudor building owned by the Turbervilles of Penllyne [ Prominent Parish Surnames - Turbervilles ] - Thomas Gray (c.1909) suggested that it occupied the site once owned by the Grammus family who flourished in the area in the 12th & 13th centuries. The courtyard at the rear is bounded by the battered walls of a ruined building of an earlier date.

    Local Roads - Street Names

    Heol Fach (Little Road)

    Heol Fach, North Cornelly
    Heol Fach, North Cornelly
    Despite its name (perhaps acquired when the 'Big Road' through Pyle was opened in the 15th century), Heol Fach during the medieval period was part of the main highway through the coastal plain of Glamorgan.
    Analysis of medieval documents shows that this road descended from Stormy Down along what is now 'Heol Y Sheet' on Broadlands Estate, as far as Cornelly Cross and then headed towards the town of Kenfig. It was probably from this earlier period that it acquired the name of 'Cartway' which is often given as an alternative in 17th century documents.
    At the 'Croes Y Ddadl' road junction, (Maudlam Cross), Heol Fach connected with the ancient trackway leading down from Cefn Cribbwr to the coast. The road to Pont Velin Newydd (certainly in being in the 13th century) and presumably a road leading direct to the town of Kenfig.

    Water Street

    Water Street which was part of the Roman coastal road, via Julia Maritima was called 'Heol-y-Troedwyr' (Road of the foot soldiers).

    Julia Maritima

    The Julia Maritima from Gloucester to Carmarthen passed Stormy Down, Cornelly, Maudlam and Kenfig to the south of the main road as far as Cwrt-y-Defaid.
    London 2012 Olympic Games - Official Website London 2012 Olympic Games - Official Website London 2012 Paralympic Games - Official Website London 2012 Paralympic Games - Official Website
    London 2010 (The Olympic Movement) - Official Website The Paralympic Movement - Official Website
    British Paralympic Association British Paralympic Association

    Table Tennis Ace from North Cornelly chosen for Paralympian Team

    Paralympian Paul Davies
    Image source: Glamorgan Gazzette
    Paul Davies of North Cornelly is among 4 Welsh athletes chosen to take part in the Paralympic Games by the British Paralympic Association (BPA).
    It's a dream come true for Paul Davies who was paralysed in an accident in 1986. It will be the first time the World-Ranked Number 9 is to go to the Paralympics and something he's dreamed of for many years. 'It was a fantastic moment to be told that I had been selected to ParalympicsGB', he said. It's a real honour and a very proud moment for my family. I have been working towards this moment for many years and it is the highlight of my career.
    Davies who trains at Pyle Leisure Centre has trained for 5 Paralympic Games over a period of 20 years before being selected to compete in London 2012.

    Career Highlights

    World Ranking: 9
    Silver Medal at 2001 European Championships (beating 2008 Paralympic Gold Medalist)

    Source: Glamorgan Gazette & GEM Newspapers


    A Special Section on the 2012 Olympic Games will be made available on this website over the coming months where we will be documenting all local athletes competing in both the able-bodied and Paralympic Games. We will also be documenting the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay that passes through our locality on the A48 at Pyle enroute from Cardiff to Swansea on Saturday 26 May 2012.
    New ON THIS DAY - 30 January 1607

    Life in 17th Century Kenfig

    In the early 1600's, the population of Kenfig was around 200. A church and village at Maudlam, a few scattered houses at Ton Kenfig and Sker Farm.

    The Great Storm 1607 - Tsunami in Bristol Channel

    On this day in 1607 (407 years ago) there was a great storm and many people lost their lives in the county when lowland areas became flooded. (Experts now believe this was caused by a Tsunami in the Bristol Channel and not a storm or high tides.
    At Kenfig, the sand made further inroads - times were also hard; there were bad harvests in the 1620's and 1630's due to excessive rain. This also caused increased mortality of livestock, thus pushing up the price of all foodstuffs. Homes at this time were often workshops, peasant farmers having to exploit every means possible to make ends meet.

    Cottage Industries

    Looms were set up in cottages where the whole family would help with the spinning, combing, weaving and stocking-knitting. People made their own clothes and also sold garments at local fairs and markets. Tanning was also often carried in conjunction with small-scale farming. It required a plentiful supply of oak bark, water and lime, all of which were available within the Kenfig area.

    Some local People

    William Reese of Pyle and Kenfig was a cordwainer (Shoemaker) who also owned a cow, horse, lambs and ewes, grain and corn. Richard Thomas of Kenfig was able to earn his living solely by being a cordwainer. In 1634 tanned hides were regulary exported from Newton.
    In 1654 John Leyshon held a lease of all veins and mines of coal in Rugge (Cefn Cribbwr) lying 'Within the liberty of the Borough of Kenfig'. He was a registered seaman and it is thought that coal was transported on the backs of horses or mules from Cefn to Newton to be shipped out. The coal would have been cut out of the bottom of shallow bell pits and carried in baskets up ladders to the surface.

    Kenfig during Civil War Years (1642)

    When Charles I became King in 1625 he believed he could rule by divine right without advice from Parliament. When civil war broke out between his supporters and Oliver Cromwell's Parliamentarians, Wales was mostly Royalist in sympathy, the Kenfig area being no exception. After Cromwell's death in 1658 his son failed to maintain politcal stability and Charles II was welcomed back from exile since people were tired of the restrictions imposed by Puritan rule. By the summer of 1659 there had been a weeding out of political figures in Glamorgan who had supported Cromwell's Protectorate.
    In 1662 the Act of Uniformity was passed, compelling people to conform to rules of the Established Church and to use the Book of Common Prayer. Lewis Aylward (Portreeve of the Kenfig Borough) was an ardent non-conformist and his house (either present day Kenfig Farm or Pool Farm), was used for meetings after the passing of the Act. In 1664, a troop of soldiers arrested Jacob Christopher, a preacher at the house but he was later released. He continued to use Aylward's house for meetings from 1672-75 but died a year later and was buried at Maudlam.
    James II became King in 1685 and was unpopular with many people and with Parliament because he was suspected of trying to revert the country to the Catholic faith. When the Duke of Monmouth tried to displace James, the same Lewis Aylward, along with Thomas Lougher of South Cornelly (Constable of Kenfig Castle), was imprisoned in Chepstow Castle on the grounds he was sympathetic to Monmouth's cause. After Monmouth was beheaded in 1685 they were both freed.
    Some Roman Catholic priests were executed for their faith in James' reign. Parliament ordered the local Justices of the Peace to seek them out. Philip Evans was arrested at Sker House (Owned by Christopher Turberville) in 1678 and was later hung, drawn and quartered in Cardiff. He was canonized in 1970.

    Kenfig - The 1660 Survey

    In the mid 17th century it is known that only one cottage near the old Kenfig castle was occupied. A survey of the Borough was made in 1660 for it's lord, the Earl of Pembroke, by a jury of burgesses. It defined the Borough's boundaries.
    At this time burgesses were sworn in by the portreeve without payment. Anyone could be a burgess as long as the portreeve and his aldermen agreed. The portreeve, sergeant, constable of the castle, heyward and two ale-tasters were elected each year by all the burgesses. This resulted in rather a confused situation, especially when several burgesses were sworn in at the same time. The jurors admitted they did not know how many burgesses were within the Borough who ought to perform their 'suit of court' obligation. Furthermore, they did not know how many houses or how many acres in the Borough had been overcome by sand.
    Within the Borough and under the Lordship were two manors of free socage tenure.
    (socage = rent; free socage tenure meant held by free men on payment of rent)
    These were the Paschall Hill holding (129 acres) and another unnamed holding of 145 acres. There were 19 people who rented various acreages of the Paschall Hill holding at two and a half pence per acre. The 145 acres was divided between 20 tenants who again held various amounts at the nominal rent of one red rose and three peppercorns a year. The tenants of the above holdings may or may not have been burgesses.
    The 1660 survey also stated that one third of Kenfig Down (at Sker) which had been held by the monks of Neath Abbey was now held by Thomas Turberville and enclosed. The rent of this unknown acreage was five shillings a year and paid to the Earl, but Thomas Turberville received the profit and benefit of that land. The other two-thirds of the Down had been rented by the burgesses for ten shillings a year 'time out of mind' but now some of it was enclosed by them and they could rent it to non-burgesses and receive the profit. They held an unknown quantity of enclosed land in the common called Rugge (Cefn Cribbwr) in the same way. The fishing rights of Kenfig Pool were also theirs.

    Local Fashions

    During this century of Stuart rule fashions changed considerably. Men's hair was long and curled, cavalier's dress was elaborate with long lace collars and cuffs, loose breeches with ribbons at the knees and wide leather boots.
    Women's skirts were high waisted and often looped up. The puritans, in marked contrast wore plain dark garments with white collars and aprons. They wore their hair short. When Charles II came to the throne, rich people dressed even more elaborately and expensively but the poor still wore simple wollen garments.
    The homes of the poor were draughty and smokey as chimneys were dispensed of due to Chimney Tax. Glass was also taxed so windows were made with paper soaked in oil. The better off people had comfortable homes with four-poster beds and padded chairs in contrast.
    Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)

    The Kenfig Heritage Project - MAIN HISTORY SECTION

    Documenting entire history of Kenfig & surrounding Area from Prehistory to Present Day

    The Beginning of The Margam Estate - 1668

    The Earl of Pembroke sold his manor of Kenfig to Sir Edward Mansel of Margam for £525 (five hundred and twenty five pounds) in 1668. It included decayed castle, all property, lands, woods, mineral rights at Cefn Cribbwr, waters, warrens, fishing, rents and other rights.
    Sir Edward's descendants, the Mansel-Talbots inherited these until the estate was broken up and sold in 1941.
    Learn more... The Margam Estate

    Manorial Courts at Kenfig

    Early records of manorial courts held in the Pyle and Kenfig district begin in 1676. They were presided over by the stewards and portreeve and there were three types:
    • Courts Baron - were held monthly to deal with the rents, services and heriots due from tenants.
    • Courts Leet - Petty criminal courts, these were only held twice a year.
    • Court of Pleas - these heard actions pertaining to land and were held monthly.
    Petty offences included selling ale at short measure, not grinding corn at the mill where 'suit of mill' licence was held, not repairing the highway, not assisting in planting sedges and shooting partridges within the Borough precinct. The courts continued in the area until 1816.

    Court Records

    • Court records show that in 1676 the River Kenfig was blocked with sand.
    • In 1682 there is reference to a 'Wigmore Road' leading to the sea at Sker.
    Wigmore was the burning of seaweed to provide fertiliser for the land. It is also known that lime-burning went on at Cornelly - there being a plentiful supply of limestone as well as coal not too far away. Often lime was applied far too liberally as it was thought of as a fertiliser.
    New Heritage Exhibition

    Bethlehem Church Life Centre, Cefn Cribwr

    Saturday 21 January 2012

    Bridgend Farmers' Market, Capital Region Tourism
    Bridgend REACH
    Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) was one of many exhibitors at a successful 'This is Your it today!' exhibition held at Bethlehem Church Life Centre, Cefn Cribwr on Saturday 21 January 2012. This event was promoted by Bridgend REACH (The Bridgend Rural Development Program, Bridgend County Borough Council).

    History & Heritage Steering Group Local Community Group who is responsible for this webiste is pleased to announce its association with Bridgend REACH with its History & Heritage Steering Group which aims to help promote the history, heritage & tourism aspects of the Bridgend County together with the nation of Wales as a whole.

    Collabarate Working

    This heritage exhibition has paved the way forward to collaborative working between like-minded individuals & organisations in forging long-term relations & business opportunities in addition to promoting both the heritage & tourism aspects of what the county has to offer. The Local Community Group found the exhibition very rewarding and is looking forward to extending our services as time goes by. We would like to thank the management & staff at both the Bethlehem Church Life Centre & Bridgend REACH for hosting such a great event.

    Further Information

    Some of the Exhibitors
    Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust
    Glamorgan Archives, Cardiff
    Ogmore Valley History & Heritage Society
    Llynfi Models
    Bridgend Beekeepers, 1940s Swansea Bay, Conservation & Design, BCBC
    New FOLKLORE - The Cefn Riders & The Red Goblins

    Local Folklore:

    The Cefn Riders & The Red Goblins

    Cefn - Welsh for back or ridge & Pyle (Pil in Welsh) means Stronghold

    The Cefn Riders

    Gangs of men known as the Cefn Riders & the Red Goblins have become legendary figures in local folklore within the Kenfig & surrounding area.
    Cefn Cribbwr is a sprawling village running along the top of a spur or ridge whose height & shape give it a commanding position in the area. From anywhere in Cefn the surrounding countryside can clearly be seen and the potential for defence was spotted by its earliest peoples; the ancient Britons built a camp or fort here which was known as Castell Kribor, defences were also built on the appproach routes to Cefn eg. Pyle.
    From the top of the ridge the people of Cefn were able to look about them and feel quite secure. By the 19th century they had almost become a people apart & any stranger visiting the area would be eyed with silent hostility and suspicion & at worst attacked so fiercely they would think twice before venturing there again.
    The soil on the ridges was so poor that it was impossible for any large community to remain there and so bands of tougher men descended upon the lowlands taking what they required. No farm or building was safe, sheep and cattle began to disappear in large quantities. From this small step to plain thuggery the Cefn Riders as they came to be called roamed far & wide attacking strangers and packmen.
    Travelling mostly on foot but sometimes on horseback they became greatly feared as far afield as Merthyr and the Vale of Glamorgan; showing little mercy to their victims - there is a very good description of 1 of their attacks in Alexander Cordell's, 'The Fire People' in which the Riders indulge in a favourite pastime of leaping on a traveller's back & forcing them to carry them some way along the journey.

    The Red Goblins

    The Red Goblins lived in the mountainous area between the Garw & Maesteg, these too were a band of ruffians living on what they stole from peoples living in the lowlands. From their caves on the mountainside they travelled in sweeping raids. Their favourite hunting ground was from the Vale of Glamorgan to the coast.
    On one occasion they caught the Carmarthenshire Drovers on their way to the meat markets of London & stole their entire herd, on another occasion they captured an aristocratic lady of the Carne family & held her to ransome.
    The Red Goblins appear to have been capable of gallant acts & they always treated women honourably. Sometimes 'men of good breeding' joined the gang in search of adventure - in spite of this, mothers were able to make their children behave with the phrase... Hush! or the Red Goblins will get you.
    Sources: Bridgend County Borough Library & Information Services, (Books - Legends of Porthcawl & the Glamorgan Coast - Alun Morgan, Buried City of Kenfig - Thomas Gray, Folklore & Folk Stories of Wales - Marie Trevelyan)

    Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) - The Kenfig Heritage Project
    NewKenfig Times - Echos from the Past

    The Kenfig Community - North Cornelly, Maudlam & Kenfig

    Kenfig Times - Old Shops of North Cornelly, Maudlam & Kenfig

    Court House, Blue Street

    Owned by Mrs Caroline David - this was a dark room with uneven flagstones, fitted out with counter, drawers & brass scales; the shop sold materials such as cotton, buttons, fastners & boots (not shoes) which were hanging up on nails from a raftered ceiling. The shop also had bee-hives on the front lawn & sold beeswax in the shape of a basin mould & honey. Some sweets such as Fry's Cream chocolate was usually on the counter.

    The CO-OP, Blue Street

    Built next door to Court House this was at one time Harris's Photographic Studio & a grocery shop owned by Willie Thomas of Tymaen.

    David's The Butchers, Maudlam

    This was a village shop in what was formally the Butcher's Arms - it was also a Post Office.

    Jenkin Morgan, Maudlam

    Firstly this was a shop in the parlour at Fir Tree Cottage and later across the road at Heol Las Farm - the shop sold sweets.

    Miss Vaughan's, Ton Kenfig

    This shop was formally operated by Mrs Skinner & later by Miss Vaughan - its was situated behind the former Windrush Restaurant.

    Mrs Jenkin's, Ton Kenfig

    A wooden shop adjacent to Pen y Lan.

    Marie Vaughan's, Near New House, Cornelly

    This shop was situated between Fairfield House (4 new houses today) & the New House Inn - this is where the so called 'Parish' was paid out.

    Pear Tree Cottage, Old Road

    Parlour type shop situated behind the New House Inn

    Mrs Powell's, Grit Hill, Old Road

    Small parlour shop on the then main road to Pyle (Ffordd y Eglwys) - Mrs Powell also had a wooden cabin shop at Pyle station.

    Dampier's, Heol Fach, Cornelly

    George Dampier built a shop in the early 1920's - it was the only newsagent's in the area (the nearest newsagent was at Kenfig Hill). A Fish & Chip shop was opened in Belmont House, Heol Fach, prior to this William's Fish & Chip shop was next door before Belmont House had been built. Before both these food shops, a Fish & Chip Cart used to operate around the district.
    Bill from Willie John Butcher's Cornelly - 1938
    Bill from Willie John Butcher's Cornelly - 1938
    Bill from Evan John Butcher's, (Willie John's Father) - 1883
    Bill from Evan John (Willie John's Father)- 1883
    The above bill was to Mrs Jenkins (Chemist) Bryn Eglwys, Maudlam.

    Granny Bowen's, Pearl Cottage, Blue Street

    This was a small parlour shop operating from chest of drawers. The 4 cottages were apparently at one time: a private house, the 1st cottage being the stable, the 2nd the kitchen, the 3rd the living room & the 4th the lounge. At one time there was a tailor's in the upstairs of the first cottage.

    Old Post Office, Curwen Terrace, Cornelly

    Built c.1911 by Will Evans as a shop. It was made the Post Office c.1922. This also was Thomas & Evans, Peglar's, & Jeff Roberts Electrical.

    Blacksmith's Shop, Cornelly Cross

    William John's stone built shop on the cross - this was later re-built across the road as a tin-built forge.

    School Terrace, Cornelly

    Carpenter's shop at Cornelly Court, Saunder's shoe shop & Roger Evan's Fish & Chip shop.

    E.W.John, Butcher, Heol Fach, Cornelly

    Built in early 1920's by Evan John, father of Willie John & grandson Arwyn. This butchers closed sometime ago.

    Glen Rosa Cafe, Heol Fach, Cornelly

    Started by Mrs Elizabeth Hughes at Ton Kenfig as a summer shop in the late 1920's - its was incorporated into the house at Heol Fach and run for many years by her daughter Betty Jenkins. It had a long room with a billiard table & was used at one time as a meeting place for the Kenfig Women's Institute, Church Sunday School & as a local political meeting place. There was a wooden seat on the verandah and was always the haunt of youngsters of the area.

    Webb's, Heol Fach, Cornelly

    A grocery/sweet shop opened in the late 1920's. This shop was next to Edward's newsmarket which is presently a hairdressing salon.

    Broad's, Heol Fach, Cornelly

    Opened in early 1930's by Sammy Evans as a sweet shop.

    Roach's Fruit Shop, Heol Fach, Cornelly

    Mrs Davies started a shop in Brecon House which was later opened as a fruit shop by Tom Roach & later still as the doctor's surgery.

    Old Cottages, top of Blue Street

    In the 2nd of the two old cottages that once stood at the top end of Blue Street, Mrs Jack Carter sold home-brewed pop made from herbs etc from nearby fields.
    NewSt John Ambulance

    The Kenfig Community - Kenfig Hill

    St John Ambulance Kenfig Hill Division - started c.1909

    St John Ambulance Kenfig Hill Division c.1920
    St John Ambulance Kenfig Hill Division c.1920
    The Ambulance Hall Kenfig Hill c.1937
    The Ambulance Hall Kenfig Hill c.1937

    The St John Ambulance Movement

    The movement in Kenfig Hill started c.1909 when the first class was held at Kenfig Hill School for the purpose of rendering First Aid to the injured. After 2 years a committee was formed which met at the home of Dr Cooper. First Aid grew to such an extent that classes were held at the Talbot Institute from 23 March 1912 - the Kenfig Hill Division was officially formed in this year with the Cefn Cribbwr Division being formed in 1913.
    Prize draws & concerts were organised to raise funds to purchase uniforms with equipment & stretchers kindly donated. There were an average of 120 injuries treated each year by the Kenfig Hill Division.

    The Ambulance Hall

    This was built in 1914 at a cost of £190. It was located to the north of Mynydd Cynffig Junior School on the site presently occupied by the Air Training Corps Headquaters (2117 (Kenfig Hill) Squadron - Air Training Corps). When the division celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1937 it consisted of 23 Ambulance men, a nursing division of 14 & a cadet force of 25. The division had a fine team which won many cups & shields at the National Eisteddfod Ambulance Competitions.
    In 1924 the St John Priory of Wales stationed an Ambulance Car at Kenfig Hill which was initially housed near the Ambulance Hall but was moved to a garage on Pisgah Street opposite Pyle Welfare (Pyle Life Centre) when the ambulance hall was taken down. The Ambulance Hall was demolished in the late 1970's and the division was wound up for practicable purposes in 1984.
    New Llanfihangel Mill & Farm

    The Kenfig Community - Pyle / Pil

    Llanfihangel Mill & Farm - Mentioned in 1186

    Llanfihangel Mill, Pyle c.1920's
    Llanfihangel Mill, Pyle c.1920's
    One of the Granges of Margam Abbey - The Mill was fed via a sluce from a dam & waterfall upstream at the Collwyn. The mill was still working in 1926.
    Stone Bridge over River Kenfig
    Stone Bridge over River Kenfig
    Stone Bridge over River Kenfig
    Stone Bridge over River Kenfig
    The old mill is situated in a hollow below Marlas and is approached via a stone bridge over the River Kenfig. In former times it was held by the monks of Margam as one of the Granges of Margam Abbey (St. Michael's) and was attached to the nearlby farm - mention to this is made in 1186. The mill was leased by lay tenants and served the needs of the people around Pyle until 1926. The Mill was fed via a sluce from a dam & waterfall upstream at the Collwyn.
    The earliest known lay tenant was Thomas ap David who secured a lease upon the mill in 1527.
    Following the dissolution of Margam Abbey the mill was acquired by the Mansel family (1536 - 1750) at this time there were 3 other corn mills operating in the area but by 1700 Llanfihangel was the only 1 still operational. Between 1724-1725 considerable renovation work were carried out and by 1739 a drying kiln had been added. In 1751 machinery for a second mill had been installed. (The tenant at this time was Edward Harris (d.1756) who was Portreeve of the Kenfig Borough for 14 consecutive years between 1742 & 1756 - Kenfig Portreeves 1339-1886)
    The farm which is screened from view from the highway has labelled & mullioned windows which date from the late 16th century. When new windows were inserted in the south wall in 1959 sections of a small moulded & cusped 14th century window were found. Scores of pigeon holes can be seen in the northern pine end and nearby stands a large ruined building believed to have been used as a tithe barn. In 1358 and abbey lay brother named Meuric who worked at the grange was indicted for harbouring felons there.

    Ffynnon Collwyn Spring

    Along the Collwyn behind St James' Church a flight of steps leads down to a small spring at the very edge of the river. This is known as Ffynnon Collwyn and was formally a healing well, the waters of which were claimed to have medicinal properties.

    Unusual Story Connected with the Mill

    In 1833 an 11 year old girl named Ann Thomas was at the mill when her clothing became caught in the machinery "which machinery whirled her about with such violence as to mangle her whole frame in such a shocking manner as caused her instantaneous death". The girl was the daughter of a carpenter named Thomas Thomas from Pyle - 8 years later he was employed to carry out repairs to the waterwheel; "His foot slipt or entangled in the said water wheel, so that his head went between the said water wheel and the wall, by means whereof the said Thomas Thomas then and there instantly died".
    NewHistory of Neighbouring Villages & Towns around Kenfig
    Learn the history of each of the neighbouring villages and towns that surround the old borough of Kenfig. In this section you can learn of the history of each individual area.

    Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) THE KENFIG COMMUNITY

    History of Neighbouring Villages & Towns around Kenfig
    New ON THIS DAY - 28 December 1781

    Local Shipwrecks:

    CATERINA - lost at Sker Point on 28 December 1781

    Image source: The Shipwreck 1772 (Claude Vernet) Marine Art - Wikipedia
    On this day in 1781 (232 years ago), the vessel CATERINA was lost at Sker Point. Hundreds of local people converged upon the wreck with a lawless attitude totally indifferent to the sufferance of her crew. The newly formed fellowship put a guard on the ship and a pitch battle broke out - 3 people were killed.

    Hanged for Plundering

    The plunderers were later caught and jailed but tranferred to Hereford to prevent the locals from freeing them. One of these, John Webb was later hanged.
    The cargo of the CATERINA consisted of cotton, several casks of wine, brandy, currants & other goods.


    Some 28 years before the wreck of the CATERINA in 1753, a similar occurrence of the shameful plundering of wrecks by local people happened with LE VAINQUEUR again at Sker and in the same month. Outling the severity with which the authorities meant to deal with offenders by affixing noticies to local parish church doors advising, "that the looting of wrecks was punishable by death" this didn't seem work as a deterent to the practise of looting wrecked vessels.

    Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)

    King Henry VIII & Kenfig

    King Henry VIII Wikipedia
    King Henry VIII
    King Henry VIII
    Photo: Wikipedia
    The overwhelming of Kenfig by the sands in the late 15th century was just a memory by 1538 when Leland, the Kings Antiquary visited the area. He wrote of the castle and village being in ruins and 'almost shokid and devourid with sand that the Severne Se castith up'. He referred to the Kenfig River as Colebrooke and mentioned good corn and grass at Sker.
    At this time, King Henry VIII dissolved the monastries. Margam was the first to go in Glamorgan and when the monks left, all their property, which included some burgages at the site of the old town of Kenfig, fell to the Crown. The lands were sold to various buyers and Margam, Pyle, Stormy, Kenfig Higher (the area north of the Kenfig river) and coal pits in Cefn Cribbwr were acquired in 1546 by Sir Rice Mansel of Oxwich and Penrice in the Gower.
    He settled at Margam a little later. The Lordship of Kenfig Borough itself was Henry VIII's since he was Lord of Glamorgan, but by 1550 it was sold to Sir William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke.

    Life in 16th Century Kenfig

    Tudor Period (1485-1603) / Elizabethan Era

    During the Tudor period, houses in some areas were constructed of a timber framework (usually of oak) with wattle and plaster in between and topped with a thatched roof. Many great oaks grew at Margam and it is known that some were transported as far as Plymouth for ship building.
    It is probable that most of the houses in the area now known as Ton Kenfig and in the village of Maudlam were built of local stone. The Guildhall, the present 'Prince of Wales Inn' dates from the 16th century as does Sker House.
    Glass was expensive so was only seen in the houses of the wealthy. Homes of farmers and merchants contained furniture such as settles, wooden armchairs, carved beds with feather mattresses lain across ropes and wollen blankets.
    Peasant's huts were more sparsely furnished with just a few stools, pots and a wooden chest. The hut floor was of earth and the fire was built on a hearthstone with a basket hood to take the smoke out through the smoke hole.
    Poor people wore rough cotton or wollen clothes while a well-off farmer dressed in leather doublet and hose. Wealthy women had tight-bodied dresses with padded sleeves and cloaks were worn in cold weather. The climate deteriorated over western Europe during the latter half of the century and there was a succession of bad harvests and a famine in 1556.

    Working in the area

    Llanfihangel Mill, Pyle c.1920's
    Llanfihangel Mill, Pyle c.1920's
    One of the Granges of Margam Abbey - The Mill was fed via a sluce from a dam & waterfall upstream at the Collwyn. The mill was still working in 1926.
    Although iron and coal working was gradually on the increase in Glamorgan, most of the people worked on the land including those of the Kenfig area. Many died from malnutrition and there was also an influenza epidemic.
    In Elizabeth I's region, laws were made to help the poor since the closing of the monasteries meant there were no monks to provide charity and the practice of keeping sheep had resulted in fewer people required to work the soil. More corn was grown and the numbers of cattle increased. At this time there were water mills for grinding corn at Llanfihangel Farm and at Pont Felin Newydd.

    Catholic Counter Reformation and Kenfig

    Mary I of England
    Queen Mary I of England
    Photo: Wikipedia
    Elizabeth I of England
    Queen Elizabeth I
    Photo: Wikipedia
    King Philip II of Spain
    King Philip II of Spain
    Photo: Wikipedia
    Elizabeth I was determined to thwart the Catholic Counter Reformation which had begun in the reign of Mary Tudor. Those who refused to attend Church of England services were fined twenty pounds a month and then two thirds of their estates were fortified if the fine was not paid. In 1585 it was high treason for Popish priests to remain in the country.
    Despite these measures the people of Kenfig and surrounding areas remained faithful Catholics - maybe due to the lasting influence of the dissolved abbey at Margam and the activities of the priests harboured by the Turbervilles of Sker. Mary Tudor had also been respected by the people of South Wales since she was seen to be Henry VIII's true heir while Elizabeth was the daughter of the unpopular Anne Boleyn.
    Thomas ab Ieuan ap Rees (c.1510-60) was a bard from Tythegston who sang before the dissolution of the monastries - he was a devout Catholic and composed a verse on the accession of Mary Tudor. One of his other poems tells of his imprisonment in the town of Kenfig.

    King Philip of Spain & Margam

    There is a story which tells of King Philip of Spain, a suitor for Elizabeth's hand, sending her a gift of orange and lemon trees. The ship was wrecked on Kenfig Sands but the trees were saved and planted at Margam. They were not formally presented to the Mansels of Margam until Queen Anne's time and it was not until 1785 that the Orangery was erected for their protection. It is debatable whether the cultivation of orange trees would have continued in Margam for such a length of time before the orangery was built.

    Important Dates

    28 Feb 1537
    Margam Abbey was surrendered to King Henry VIII under the Dissolution of the Monastries Act
    29 Mar 1542
    Richard William received the land of Sker from King Henry VIII by Letters Patent
    The sale of Sker by Richard Williams, great grandfather of Oliver Cromwell, to Christopher Turberville of Pendine.
    Earliest surviving survey of the manor of Kenfig Borough
    More in-depth information on Kenfig during the 16th century can be viewed on the Kenfig History Timeline c.1147-1886 ...Read more

    Kenfig Timeline c.1147-1886

    A Timeline of Kenfig's History from 1147 - 1886 A Timeline of Kenfig's History from 1147 - 1886

    Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)

    The Kenfig Heritage Project - MAIN HISTORY SECTION

    Documenting entire history of Kenfig & surrounding Area from Prehistory to Present Day

    1570 Survey

    A survey of the Kenfig Borough in 1570 mentioned several free tenants holding land within the borough.
    • Richard Thomas held the Grange at Marlas and fifteen burgages in the old town.
    • Rees Thomas ap Ieuan had a burgage at Millhill.
    • William Jenkin Armiger held ground at Kenfig Pool.
    The annual burgage rent was twenty shillings. Thirty-three shillings and four pence was payable by each burgess when the heir of a deceased lord took possession.
    Free tenants and burgesses owed 'suit of court' (an obligation to attend the hundred court and another two yearly courts). The hundred court was granted by the Crown to a lordship and all free men 'assembled in their hundred'. These tenants were excused obligations such as suit of mill (having to grind their own corn at the manorial mill) and heriots (payments made to the lord on the death of a tenant). An ordinance of the Borough added in 1572 descibed the enclosing and ditching of part of the free common at Cefn Cribbwr - this common apparently extended from Cattpitt (Pwll-y-Gath, Kenfig Hill) to the ridge of Coity. The enclosed land was given to the Borough by the Lords of Glamorgan to replace ground at Kenfig covered by sand. 29 burgesses shared the area.
    New ON THIS DAY - 17 December 1753

    Sker House Rear View
    Sker House Rear View

    Local Shipwrecks:

    LE VAINQUEUR - lost at Sker Rocks on 17 December 1753

    On this day in 1753 (260 years ago), the French Merchantman, Le Vainqueur struck Sker Rocks. She was enroute from Lisbon to Le Harve when her captain entered the Bristol Channel under the belief it was the English Channel, a fatal mistake made by others before and after. In her holds were 789 chests of oranges, 650 frails of figs, 240 boxes of lemons and 84 planks of Brazilian hardwood. Of her 10 man crew, 8 survived, yet her Captain and the first mate, both brothers were drowned.

    Shameful Plundering

    The shameful plundering executed by the local people with much of the cargo destined for the banqueting halls of the French nobility, was to provide a clandlestine Christmas feast for the people of Margam and Kenfig. News of her plight spread through the county like wildfire and within hours, hundreds of people were swarming over the stricken vessel grabbing whatever booty they could. Some hacked at the woodwork and even set it alight in an attempt to recover the nails - everything had salvage value.
    The Captain's body was rifled of 17 Portuguese gold pieces, his silver shoe and knee buckles and a silver watch - this last item was recovered from a Pyle watchmaker to whom the thief had taken it with a view to repair.

    Local Arrests

    17 people were arrested for looting and several accussed, cited Issac Williams of Sker as having a hand in the plundering of the wreck. Better known as the father of ' Elizabeth Williams, The Maid of Sker ' - he was at this time both the Constable for the Hundred of Newcastle and a local magistrate.
    He was to claim that he simply removed as much cargo to Sker House as possible to protect it, while this maybe correct, his cause wasn't made any stronger by the fact that some of these goods were stolen during the night, despite having been put under guard. During the subsequent enquiry, two witnesses gave statements as to William's conduct and whilst there was insufficient evidence for Williams to be brought to trial, it is said that local people never trusted him again and that he went in some fear of his life.

    The Outcome

    Of those arrested, 1 was hanged and to help bring the severity with which the authorities meant to deal with offenders, notices were affixed to local parish church doors advising, "that the looting of wrecks was punishable by death".

    Le Vainqueur

    Background Information

    Further Information

    Le Vainqueur, a French vessel belonging to Harve de Grace was returning home from Lisbon. Her Captain, John Masson made the mistake of entering the Bristol Channel instead of the English Channel. His ship became stranded at a place called 'ye Scar' - she became completely wrecked and was extensively looted by crowds of people. When the ship struck, it started to break up quickly. Captain Masson, his brother, The Mate and a passenger were all drowned. 8 of the crew, however, were saved. An eye witness accounts of a wreck on Sker Rocks with a crowd of 400 people swarming all over the vessel is noted. It also said that the wreckers tried to set fire to the hull so that any iron could be recovered.


    Many people regarded a wrecked ship as a divine gift - some believed that ships wrecked on those rocks were the right of the local populous. The authorities were shocked at the wrecking, one officer stated 'that if they had known sooner they could have caught the villans'. Another report said that when a baliff went to recover some of the cargo an angry mob threatened him with his life. He promptly left the scene and said he would not return even if he was offered £50. Lloyds List summed up the event by saying 'the Country people made a perfect wreck of the Ship and Cargo'.
    Sailing Ship, unknown rig
    Port of Registry:
    Dieppe, France
    Harve de Grace
    Date of Sinking:
    17 December 1753
    Sker Rocks, Porthcawl, Glamorgan

    Source: Yvonne Carr (Shipwrecks around and about Kenfig), Tom Bennett (Shipwrecks around Wales - Happy Fish Publishers, Dyfed), Lloyds Register of Ships

    Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)
    New ON THIS DAY - 08 December 1808

    Local Shipwrecks:

    RICHARD - lost at Tusker Rock on 08 December 1808

    On this day in 1808 (205 years ago), the vessel RICHARD bound for the Ogmore River from Cardigan (West Wales) was lost. Three of her 7 crew together with her cargo which is unknown were saved - The vessel was lost.
    Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)
    New ON THIS DAY - 04 December 1678

    Sker House Rear View
    Sker House Rear View

    Sker House Front View
    Sker House Front View

    Saint Philip Evans (1645-1679)

    Arrested at Sker House - 04 December 1678

    On this day in 1678 (335 years ago), Father Philip Evans, a Roman Catholic priest was arrested at the home of Christopher Turberville at Sker, Glamorgan. When he refused to take the Oath of Supremacy, he was imprisoned alone in Cardiff Castle. He had been arrested in the hysteria of the Titus Oates plot to kill King Charles II.
    After five months the priest was brought to trial but when no evidence of his complicity could be produced, he was charged with being a priest (which was illegal in the realm) - few were willing to serve as witnesses. He was convicted on the evidence of two poor women who were suborned to say that they had seen Father Evans celebrating Mass.
    He was executed on Gallows Field (north eastern end Richmond Road, Cardiff) - Father Evans addressed the onlookers in Welsh and English - He was executed along with John Lloyd saying 'Adieu, Mr Lloyd, though for a little time, for we shall shortly meet again '. The feast day of St. Philip Evans is on 25 October.
    Father Philips died at Cardiff, 22 July 1679. He was beatified in 1929, canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970 as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.


    Philip Evans was born in Monmouthshire in 1645 and educated at Saint-Omer, he joined the Society of Jesus when he was 20 and was ordained at Liège, Belgium, in 1675.
    Father Philip was sent back to Wales to minister to the Catholics in the southern part of the country. For several years he zealously ministered to his flock unmolested, but the civil authorities turned a blind eye until November 1678 - although John Arnold, a justice of the peace and hunter of priests, offered a £200 bounty for his arrest, Father Evans refused to leave his flock untended.

    Kenfig during Civil War Years (1642)

    KENFIG - The Complete History (e-Resource) ...... HISTORY | WAR YEARS | COMMUNITY | FOLKLORE | THE COAST

    Pictorial History of Kenfig & surrounding Area

    Maudlam Church c.1907
    St Mary Magdalene Church, Maudlam c.1907 view from South

    Maudlam Church (Built c.1255) - (Parish of Pyle & Kenfig)

    Dedicated to St.Mary Magdalene, Maudlam Church (built c.1255). It isn't the parish church due to a consistory court, which met at Margam in 1485, deciding that this status be accorded to St.James' church, Pyle; even though Maudlam Church is some 200 years older. Learn more about the church including a Live Church in Wales Twitter news feed.
    Read more... Maudlam Church

    St James' Church, Kenfig (Built c.1147-1154)

    Built c.1147-1154 by the Normans & endowed to Tewkesbury Abbey, St James' Church was located close to Kenfig Castle in the medieval town of Kenfig. It is believed that St James' Church at Kenfig was removed stone by stone & rebuilt at Pyle being renamed St James' at that location in the 15th century.

    St James' Church, Pyle (Built c.1471)

    Known locally as 'The Upside-down Church' as it is reputed that when the sands threatened to engulf Kenfig, the old church of St James' in the town was dismantled stone by stone and re-built in 'reverse' at it's present location. The Church was built c.1471 - St James' Church, Pyle is the Parish Church for the benefice of Pyle and Kenfig.


    Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) THE KENFIG COMMUNITY
    History of Neighbouring Villages & Towns around Kenfig

    Kenfig Farm c.1952
    Kenfig Farm c.1952
    New Detailed Oral Accounts of Kenfig & Surrounding Areas
    Read detailed oral accounts from local people of Kenfig and surrounding areas & experience what life was like in the 20th and early 21st centuries in South Wales during this point in time. Experience the trials and tribulations of a once thriving agricultural community changed forever with the advent of modern society, housing developments and changes in transportation taking a once sedate community into an urban sprawl.
    NewHistory of Neighbouring Villages & Towns around Kenfig
    Learn the history of each of the neighbouring villages and towns that surround the old borough of Kenfig. In this section you can learn of the history of each individual area.

    Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) THE KENFIG COMMUNITY

    History of Neighbouring Villages & Towns around Kenfig


    Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) HISTORY SECTION

    The Seal of Kenfig Borough

    The Seal of Kenfig Borough

    The seal was used by Alice, the widow of John Peruat, (former Burgess of Kenfig) for her gifts of land & 2 burgages in the town of Margam Abbey in 1320 & 1321 because 'her seal is unknown to many persons'. In August 1325 the seal was used by John Nichol of Kenfig when he quit-claimed to the monks all his land & burgages in the town.

    This wasn't the only seal used by the burgesses. John (son of Henry de Bonville) used the Kenfig Borough Seal on a receipt for payment in lieu of arrears on a pension he was receiving from the monks. Instead of an ornamental cross between 4 pellets, the seal outlined displays the device of a fleur-de-lis.

    The Iron Age

    Plan - 7th Century Iron Age Camp at Pen-y-Castell Kenfig Hill drawn in 1895

    7th Century Iron Age Camp

    Pen-y-Castell, Kenfig Hill

    This fortification was 700 feet long by 220 feet wide strategically positioned on the crest (Ton) to command a military position over the 2 valleys either side & the approaches from the sea. Remains of the camp were extensively damaged by quarrying in 19th century.

    A 9th century fortification on Stormy Down were completely destroyed by more recent quarrying during the 20th century.

    Reference: Iron Age Britain Wikipedia

    Barrie Griffiths (1942-2009)

    A fitting Tribute to a local Historian

    Barrie Griffiths (1942-2009) - A fitting Tribute to a local Historian
    This section is dedicated to Mr Barrie Griffiths who was a prolific local historian & mainstay of Kenfig History Society; his research was thorough & his works and publications well respected throughout both the local communities and the world.

    Kenfig Corporation Trust

    A charity charged with administration of Borough property since 1886

    Kenfig Corporation Trust - A charity charged with administration of Borough property since 1886
    History of trust including High Court Case of 1971 over ownership of Kenfig Common; Pyle & Kenfig Manorial Court Presentments from 1676 and list of Portreeves of Kenfig Borough 1339-1886.

    Kenfig - A Medieval Town

    A Brief Background

    Archaeological evidence has suggested that there has been a settlement at Kenfig since Roman times. Pieces of Romano-British pottery, a roofing tile and a coin depicting the emperor Constans (337 – 350 A.D.) have been found. Additionally, a Roman road runs through the Borough complete with mile stones. These mile stones are situated in Margam and Pyle and they carry inscriptions to the emperors Postumus (259 – 268 A.D.) and Victorinus (268 - 270 A.D.) respectively. In the wider landscape Neolithic arrowheads, scrapers, a dwelling and a burial urn have also been uncovered suggesting that Kenfig has been a home to people for at least 4000 years.

    The Iron Age

    Iron Age settlements were constructed to the North and to the East of Kenfig providing a continuity of occupation into Roman times. The Iron Age people of Kenfig were known as the Silures and they were led by Bodvoc, son of Caitegern, great-grandson of Eternalis Vedomavus. Bodvoc was killed in the struggle against Rome by legionaries commanded by Julius Frontinus. The ‘Bodvoc Stone’, a tribute to the Silurian leader, now stands in the Margam stones museum.

    The Romans

    The Romans were converted to Christianity by the Emperor Constantine in 313 A.D. and the pagan tribes of Kenfig were forced to abandon their gods and worship the god of Rome. As Christianity took hold among the Silures, and Britain as a whole, monasteries were built, including an early structure at Margam. To this day, an abbey exists at Margam, thus providing a link to those early Christian founding fathers.

    Irish, Angles, Saxons & Vikings

    By 410 A.D. the Roman Empire was in decay and the troops stationed in Britain were called back to defend Rome. The vacuum left by the Romans was filled by numerous raiders over the coming centuries, including the Irish, the Angles, the Saxons and the Vikings. It is suggested that the Vikings settled in the area and that local place names such as Sker, and Kenfig itself, are of Viking origin.

    The Normans

    By the 11th century a new power had emerged in Europe: descendants of the Vikings, the Normans invaded Britain and led by Robert Fitzhamon they took control of Kenfig, c1100 A.D. A castle was built, initially of wood, to help suppress any local opposition and that was followed by a church, dedicated to St James. A town was established, made up of Norman and English settlers, and a system akin to apartheid was set in place. Needless to say, the indigenous people, who were largely excluded from the town, took exception to this imposition and the town was raided on the 13th January 1167. As a result of this, and subsequent raids, the wooden castle was replaced by a stone tower and the donjon that would come to dominate Kenfig for the next 300 years was born.


    Ben, the Hermit of Kenfig Sands - View Story

    The Story of a Welsh 'Robinson Crusoe', the difference being that he was cast up from a coal mine and not by the sea.

    Ben, the Hermit of Kenfig Sands - View Here


    Digitised images from old glass lantern slides c.1904

    A selection of rare images of Kenfig & Newton Burrows have kindly been donated to this project by Mr Steve Parker of Kenfig.

    Rare Photos of Kenfig Sand Dunes - View Here


    Kenfig Reserve Centre

    The Reserve Centre

    Situated at Kenfig Pool, Glamorgan's largest natural lake, Kenfig National Nature Reserve SSSI is on land owned by Trustees of the Kenfig Corporation Property which is leased & managed by Bridgend County Borough Council. A Site of Special Scientific Interest, Kenfig NNR is one of the finest wildlife habitats in Wales and is home to a wide variety of rare and endangered species of plants and animals, including the Fen Orchid.

    The Kenfig website has kindly been supplied a report on 'Kenfig Sand Dunes - Potential for Dune Reactivation' by The Countryside Council for Wales (CCW). We have included part of the report on the Kenfig NNR webpage - the report is very informative about dune management, especially that on Kenfig.


    This website is NOT the Official Website for the Reserve Centre.
    Please DO NOT email this website with queries relating to and/or associated with Kenfig NNR
    We are NOT in a position to reply to any emails.


    The Town Hall - Prince of Wales Inn

    The Prince of Wales Inn

    The Town Hall of the Ancient Borough of Kenfig replaced the old guild hall of the ancient Borough which once stood in the old medieval town and is the focal point of the Borough both within its present and former transitions. The building is owned by The Kenfig Corporation Trust; its upstairs room has been in continuous usage for centuries and it was within this very room that the Burgesses exercised their rights granted by the Kenfig charters.

    Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)

    Read more... History Section

    Twitter News Feeds
    Rob Bowen @radbowen
    Owner/Author: Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) - Welsh Govt sponsored & Heritage Status website on Kenfig's rich & colourful history



    BBC Radio 4 - Gaina Morgan

    Provided courtesy Gaina Morgan Media -



    My Green Space - Gaina Morgan

    History walk at Kenfig c.1965

    St David's Day - Pyle School c.1964

    A Day at Pyle School c.1964

    Kenfig National Nature Reserve

    Kenfig NNR
    Situated at Kenfig Pool, Glamorgan's largest natural lake, Kenfig National Nature Reserve SSSI is on land owned by Trustees of the Kenfig Corporation Property which is leased & managed by Bridgend County Borough Council.
    A Site of Special Scientific Interest, Kenfig NNR is one of the finest wildlife habitats in Wales and is home to a wide variety of rare and endangered species of plants and animals, including the Fen Orchid.

    History of Porthcawl Docks

    Porthcawl Docks & Harbour - Porthcawl Breakwater, nearing completion c.1865
    Porthcawl Breakwater, c.1865
    Learn more about the history of Porthcawl Docks which grew up around the development of the railway network set up to transport coal, iron & other minerals in the early to mid 19th century.
    Originally a horse-drawn tramroad which developed into a standard-gauge railway line which opened in 1865. Learn more...

    Porthcawl Docks

    History of Ewenny Priory

    Ewenny Priory Church
    A Confirmatory Charter of gifts made to Ewenny Priory by the Robert, Earl of Gloucester gave the priory 21 acres of arable land ajoining the town of Kenfig & also a burgage lying on the Black River outside the gate of the said town.
    Learn the history of Ewenny Priory, Ewenny Church & its association with Kenfig. From Celtic Christian Origins, the founding of the Priory, Life at the Priory, its fortification & its later histories.

    Ewenny Priory

    War Years War Years Pictorial History Pictorial History
    Folklore Folklore The Sport of Bando The Sport of Bando
    Graffiti Artists - Is this art or vandalism? Graffiti Artists - Is this art or vandalism?

    Video of 2010 Annual Gambo Race on YouTube

    Annual Gambo Race

    The 2010 Gambo Race was the last of its kind in Kenfig Community due to public 'Health & Safety' Issues imposed by local Authorities / Police
    ...Learn more

    New Little Known Legends

    General Sir Thomas Picton

    The Birth of General Picton
    One of the Duke of Wellington's divisional commanders killed at the Battle of Waterloo had several connections with Porthcawl.
    Read more... General Picton


    Margam Abbey (1147-1536)

    Margam Abbey
    Founded in 1147 by Robert, Earl of Gloucester, Margam Abbey was a Cistercian Abbey of the Mother House Clairvaux - its dissolution came about in 1536 and was the first abbey to fall under the Dissolution of the Monastries by King Henry VIII... Margam Abbey

    Margam Castle

    Margam Castle
    Built for Sir Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot owner of the Margam Estate. This Tudor style mansion was built in the early 19th century and remained in use until the end of World War II. Now a part of Margam Country Park owned and managed by Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council... Margam Castle

    Capel Mair (c.1470)

    Capel Mair
    The medieval chapel known as Hen Eglwys or Capel Mair stands on the east side of Margam woods on a grassy knoll below Graig Fawr at 107m OD. Built c.1470 it appears to have served the local community who lived near to Margam Abbey; the Abbey Church being restricted to the monks... Capel Mair

    New The Margam Estate

    With evidence of over 4000yrs of continuous human habitation at Margam, learn history of the Estate & its owners through the centuries. Glimpse a Timeline of Margam Estate from the Bronze/Iron Age & Roman, Monastic, The Mansels, The Talbots, War Years/Sir Evans-Bevan & The Council Eras through to a an indepth study of all the above - this latter section will be on-going & updated at regular intervals.
    ... The Margam Estate

    New Local Genealogy

    Kenfig & Surrounding Area

    A unique online resource of the families that have helped shape the Kenfig area.

    Parish Surnames since 1695

    Beginning in 1695 this information contains a wealth of interesting material especially for Geneaology Studies.
    ... Parish Surnames since 1695

    New 1982 - The Year it Started

    1st Local History Booklet Published

    1st Local History Booklet Published
    Some 7 years before the Kenfig History Society was founded, a local history booklet was published by the Kenfig Press of Arthur Smith at Heol Fach, North Cornelly. A tribute to his grandfather who was the 1st Kenfig Councillor to be Chairman of Penybont Rural District Council & who was made a J.P. in the Coronation Year of 1937.

    Only around 200 free copies of this booklet were ever published. This website project has managed to obtain a copy & is now digitally publishing this here so that it can be archived.
    ... View Coming soon

    New Sport in the Kenfig Area

    Boxing - Coney Beach, Porthcawl

    British Pathé

    Big Fight, Big Brawl - 05/09/1960

    European Heavyweight title match between Dick Richardson & Brian London at Coney Beach Arena, Porthcawl. A legendary boxing match that saw a mass brawl at the end of round 8 - View Video Newsreel Film

    Newsreel Courtesy: British Pathé Ltd

    New Fossils in Kenfig Area

    Dinosaur jawbone - Stormy Down

    Dinosaur Fossils found at Stormy Down

    Zanclodon Cambrensis

    Found at Stormy Down in 1899 above sketch is reproduced from Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London & illustrates jawbone from a Zanclodon (a two legged reptile with large head, short arms, standing upright with long tail) which belongs to late Triassic Period. This was 1st of its species recorded in Wales.

    Remains are on display in National Museum of Wales, Cardiff.

    New Local Shipwrecks

    Samtampa - Sker Rocks (1947)

    Samtampa Memorial - Sker Rocks

    Samtampa Memorial - Sker Rocks

    A memorial dedicated to both the Samtampa & Edward Prince of Wales Lifeboat is located on Sker Rocks.
    GPS Coordinates - SS79177941
    (above link opens in new window)

    Samtampa Shipwreck - Sker Rocks (23 April 1947)
    Learn more about the Samtampa

    Shipwrecks around Kenfig since 1583
    Cefn Cribbwr Brickworks

    Local Coal Mines Local Coal Mines throughout the Kenfig Area

    Local Shipwrecks

    Local Shipwrecks - The Altmark, Kenfig c.1960
    The Altmark, Kenfig c.1960
    Local Shipwrecks - The Samtampa, Sker c.1947
    The Samtampa, Sker c.1947

    The Changing Face of Porthcawl

    The Changing Face of Porthcawl - John Street c.1901
    John Street c.1901
    The Changing Face of Porthcawl - John Street c.1930
    John Street c.1930
    The Changing Face of Porthcawl - John Street c.1938
    John Street c.1938
    The Changing Face of Porthcawl - Seabank House c.1860
    Seabank House c.1860 (From This...)
    The Changing Face of Porthcawl - Seabank Hotel c.1955
    Seabank Hotel c.1955 (To This...)
    The Changing Face of Porthcawl - Esplanade Terraces c.1901
    Esplanade Terraces c.1901 (From This...)
    The Changing Face of Porthcawl - Esplanade Hotel c.1950
    Esplanade Hotel c.1950 (To This...)
    The Changing Face of Porthcawl - The Esplanade c.1926
    The Esplanade c.1926

    Sports & Pastimes

    Sports & Pastimes - Cefn Cribbwr RFC 1936-7
    Cefn Cribbwr RFC 1936-7
    Sports & Pastimes - Kenfig Hill RFC Team V Cardiff Athletic 29 April 1959
    Kenfig Hill RFC Team 1959
    Sports & Pastimes - Kenfig Hill AFC Ton Boys 1930
    Kenfig Hill AFC Ton Boys 1930
    Sports & Pastimes - Stormy Down Cinema 1947
    Stormy Down Cinema 1947
    Sports & Pastimes - Films Showing at Gaiety, Kenfig Hill June 1951
    Films Showing at Gaiety June 1951
    Sports & Pastimes - Ball Room (Kenfig Hill & Pyle Welfare Institute) 1954
    Ball Room, Pyle Welfare 1954
    Sports & Pastimes - Bowling Green (Kenfig Hill & Pyle Welfare Institute) 1954
    Bowling Green, Pyle Welfare 1954

    Camping at Kenfig Burrows

    Sports & Pastimes - Camping at Kenfig Burrows c.1920
    Camping at Kenfig Burrows c.1920
    Sports & Pastimes - Camping at Kenfig Burrows c.1920
    Camping at Kenfig Burrows c.1920
    Sports & Pastimes - Camping at Kenfig Burrows c.1920
    Camping at Kenfig Burrows c.1920

    Porthcawl Docks & Harbour

    Porthcawl Docks & Harbour - Porthcawl Inner Harbour & Railway c.1885
    Porthcawl Inner Harbour & Railway c.1885
    Porthcawl Docks & Harbour - Porthcawl Breakwater, nearing completion c.1865
    Porthcawl Breakwater, c.1865
    Porthcawl Docks & Harbour - Porthcawl Harbour c.1880
    Porthcawl Harbour c.1880
    Porthcawl Docks & Harbour - Porthcawl Harbour c.1875
    Porthcawl Harbour c.1875
    Porthcawl Docks & Harbour - Porthcawl Docks, aerial view c.1925
    Porthcawl Docks, aerial view c.1925
    Porthcawl Docks & Harbour - Coastguard Station & Pilot Lookout Tower c.1870
    Coastguard Station & Pilot Lookout c.1870
    Porthcawl Docks & Harbour - Coastguard Station & Pilot Lookout Tower c.1938
    Coastguard Station & Pilot Lookout c.1938

    North Cornelly

    Hall Farm North Cornelly
    Hall Farm North Cornelly

    Local Railways

    Pyle Railway Station
    Pyle Railway Station
    Pyle Railway Station Staff c.1920
    Pyle Railway Station Staff c.1920

    Sker House

    Sker House
    Sker House

    War Years

    Plan of Island Farm POW Camp
    Plan of Island Farm POW Camp
    Island Farm POW Camp
    Island Farm POW Camp
    The Kenfig Hill & Pyle War Memorial unveiling/dedication advert 11 November 1925
    Kenfig Hill & Pyle War Memorial Advert


    Llanfihangel Mill, Pyle
    Llanfihangel Mill, Pyle
    Pyle Inn Advert
    Pyle Inn Advert

    Kenfig Hill

    Trustees & Official Management Committee of the Talbot Institute, Kenfig Hill c.1911
    Talbot Institute Trustees/Committee c.1911
    Talbot Institute, Kenfig Hill Newspaper advert
    Talbot Institute, Kenfig Hill advert

    Religion around Kenfig

    Twyn Cottage, Water Street - where early baptists worshiped
    Twyn Cottage, Water Street
    Pisgah Chapel, Kenfig Hill
    Pisgah Chapel, Kenfig Hill
    Siloam Chapel, Cefn Cribbwr c.1910
    Siloam Chapel, Cefn Cribbwr c.1910
    Moriah Chapel, Kenfig Hill c.1907
    Moriah Chapel, Kenfig Hill c.1907
    Elim Chapel, Kenfig Hill c.1907 (Demolished 1995)
    Elim Chapel, Kenfig Hill c.1907
    St Theodore's, Kenfig Hill c.1905
    St Theodore's, Kenfig Hill c.1905
    Interior of St Theodore's, Kenfig Hill c.1910
    Interior of St Theodore's, Kenfig Hill c.1910
    Kenfig Hill Post Office Notice c.1890
    Kenfig Hill Post Office Notice c.1890
    Advert - Bowen's Shop Kenfig Hill
    Advert - Bowen's Shop Kenfig Hill
    Advert - J Davies & Co Tailors Shop Kenfig Hill
    Advert - J Davies & Co Tailors Kenfig Hill
    Advert - B A Davies Grocer Kenfig Hill
    Advert - B A Davies Grocer Kenfig Hill

    Kenfig through the Ages || A Timeline of Kenfig's History from 1147 - 1886

    A Timeline of Kenfig's History from 1147 - 1886 A Timeline of Kenfig's History from 1147 - 1886

    Annals de Margan

    One of the most valuable surviving Welsh monastic documents beginning with the death of Edward the Confessor, from 1185 onwards, breaking off abruptly in 1232 - it is regarded as the most valuable primary source for Glamorgan History.

    Kenfig Tithe Maps

    The term 'Tithe Map' is applied to a Parish following the Tithe Communication Act 1836 allowing tithes to be paid in cash rather than goods. The map & its schedule gives the names of all owners and occupiers of land in the Parish... The Kenfig Tithe Maps

    Background || over 860 years of History

    The earliest reliable reference to the town of Kenfig comes in a document dated c.1141-7 in which a reference to a burgage indicates that Kenfig was already then a Chartered Borough. The Kenfig History Timeline is categorised into the various centuries it was associated with. The information has been cross-referenced with integrated associated website links making this section a unique repository of local historical facts that can be used as a research platform.

    Kenfig History Timeline c.1147-1886 ...Includes links to Welsh wills for the Diocese of Llandaff 1568-1857 (Parish of Kenfig) provided by the National Library of Wales.

    *Welsh Wills online

    Diocese of Llandaff 1568-1857 (Parish of Kenfig)

    Wills proved in the Welsh Ecclesiastical courts before 1858 are available through the National Library of Wales; over 190,000 Welsh wills are available free to view.
    ... Welsh Wills online catelogue - National Library of Wales

    Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) - An important part of Wales' documentary heritage

    Nash Point Lighthouses

    Nash Point Lighthouses

    Nash Point Lighthouses

    The Nash Point Lighthouses have helped mariners to keep clear of the Nash Sands since the disaster of the paddle steamer Frolic in 1831. The paddle steamer Frolic sank with the loss of all onboard on 16 March 1831 at Nash Sands, Porthcawl. As a direct result of this tradegy the Nash Lighthouses were constructed to guide vessels safely around the notorious Nash Sands.

    Exclusive: Around the World by Bicycle - Heinz Stücke

    Exclusive: Heinz Stücke

    Heinz Stücke - Guinness Book of record holder - Epic Journeys. An Exclusive interview with Heinz Stücke on A48 at Pyle on his epic round the world journey by bicycle. Since 1962 Heinz has been travelling around the world and is a Guinness Book record holder - Epic Journeys - We had a chance encounter with Heinz on 01 June 2006.
    Heinz Stücke at A48 in Pyle

    Sker House

    The history of Sker House

    Sker House

    The Great House at Sker began its origins as a monastic grange over 900 years ago. After falling into decline over the years, extensive restoration works eventually saved Sker House for posterity through National Heritage and Lottery funding - Sker House is of Grade 1 listed status and is now privately owned.
    Sker House [ Learn more ]
    Maids of Sker [ The Maids of Sker ]
    Australian Connection [ Maid of Sker Paddle Steamer ]



    Visiting Sker House

    Sker House is now Privately owned. The new owners of the property have executed their obligations with regards allowing the general public access to the premises and all present and future public visits have now been suspended.
    There are public footpaths surrounding Sker House and that is as far as the general public can go as far as visiting the house without trespass on the owners property.

    History of Pyle - The Pyle Inn (An 18th Century Coaching Inn)

    The Pyle Inn

    Built as an 18th century Coaching Inn by the Margam Estate, this inn was not only used for its inended purpose but also as a meeting place of various County bodies until it was turned into flats in 1896 and then demolished in 1959. The inn was visited by many famous people including Admiral Lord Nelson and throughout the 19th century the likes of Thomas Telford and Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
    An 18th century coaching Inn



    War Years



    The Coast

    Pictorial History

    Exclusive Pictorial History of the old Kenfig Borough ENTER